[ ap-uh-thee ]
/ ˈæp ə θi /
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noun, plural ap·a·thies.

absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement.
lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting.
Also ap·a·thei·a, ap·a·thi·a [ap-uh-thee-uh]. /ˌæp əˈθi ə/. Stoicism. freedom from emotion of any kind.



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Origin of apathy

First recorded in 1595–1605; from French or directly from Latin apathīa, from Greek apátheia “insensibility to suffering,” equivalent to apathe- (stem of apathḗs ) “unfeeling” (a- a-6 + pathe-, variant stem of páthos pathos) + -ia -ia

synonym study for apathy

2. See indifference.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does apathy mean?

Apathy is the state of not caring.

The word is especially used to refer to a lack of interest or concern about things, especially those that others find important or exciting.

It can also mean the absence or suppression of emotion or passion.

Apathy often means about the same thing as indifference, but it’s more often used in the context of someone’s lack of action when action is needed.

The adjective apathetic is used to describe someone in such a state.

The word apathy is typically used in a negative way to criticize such a state or attitude as being irresponsible or insensitive. When someone is accused of apathy, it usually means the person making the accusation thinks the apathetic person should care more—or at all.

Example: The apathy of your generation is astounding—it’s like none of you care about any of the big problems in the world!

Where does apathy come from?

The first records of the word apathy come from around 1600. It comes from the Greek apathḗs, meaning “unfeeling,” from a-, “a lack of,” and pathos, “feeling.” The same root forms the basis of words such as empathy and sympathy.

Apathy doesn’t necessarily mean feeling nothing. But it’s most commonly used to refer to the state of not caring enough to do something, especially in a situation that calls for action. In this way, apathy is often thought of as an intentionally indifferent attitude that people adopt in order to avoid dealing with problems, taking on challenges, or getting involved with difficult situations.

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What are some other forms related to apathy?

What are some synonyms for apathy?

What are some words that share a root or word element with apathy

What are some words that often get used in discussing apathy?

How is apathy used in real life?

The word apathy is usually used in a way that’s critical of those said to be engaging in it.



Try using apathy!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of apathy?

A. indifference
B. involvement
C. unconcern
D. detachment

Example sentences from the Web for apathy

British Dictionary definitions for apathy

/ (ˈæpəθɪ) /


absence of interest in or enthusiasm for things generally considered interesting or moving
absence of emotion

Word Origin for apathy

C17: from Latin, from Greek apatheia, from apathēs without feeling, from a- 1 + pathos feeling
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for apathy

[ ăpə-thē ]


Lack of interest, concern, or emotion; indifference.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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