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December 27, 1985

Inadvertent Is Unintentional

Author Affiliations

San Francisco

JAMA. 1985;254(24):3424. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360240036022

To the Editor.—  Despite Dr Mayhew1 and Webster's Third New International Dictionary, The Oxford English Dictionary dates the use of inadvertent to mean unintentional to 1742— and the American Heritage Dictionary says it still means that. If negligent is meant—with its connotation of culpability—then the word "negligent" should be used. The term "inadvertence," by itself, does not convey that meaning to me, or to most people.