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July 26, 2015

Word of the Day

  • abulia
  • audio pronunciation
  • \ay-BOO-lee-uh\
  • DEFINITION

noun

: abnormal lack of ability to act or to make decisions

  • EXAMPLE

"Abulia is a motivational deficit that is associated with apathy, loss of will, and lack of initiating behaviors." — Handbook of the Neuroscience of Language, 2008

"The remoteness of the country house made him feel isolated and displaced—feelings that worsened his abulia and melancholy—so he decided to move back closer to town, where he felt more at home." — Adam Sobsey, Independent Weekly (Durham, North Carolina), March 7, 2007

  • DID YOU KNOW?

"I must have a prodigious quantity of mind," Mark Twain once wrote. "It takes me as much as a week, sometimes, to make it up." The indecision Twain laments is fairly common; only when inability to make decisions reaches an abnormal level does it have an uncommon name: abulia. The English term we use today comes from a New Latin word that combines the prefix a-, meaning "without," with the Greek word boulē, meaning "will." Abulia can refer to the kind of generalized indecision that makes it impossible to choose what flavor ice cream you want, though it was created to name a severe medical disorder that can render a person nearly inert.

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