Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

apathy

play
noun ap·a·thy \ˈa-pə-thē\

Simple Definition of apathy

  • : the feeling of not having much emotion or interest : an apathetic state

Full Definition of apathy

  1. 1 :  lack of feeling or emotion :  impassiveness

  2. 2 :  lack of interest or concern :  indifference

Examples of apathy

  1. That's the danger of a teeming cast of … characters: they get jumbled in the viewer's mind, and … apathy ensues. Novels can afford a rich banquet of personalities; it's what readers sign up for. But ratiocination isn't welcome in modern movies, which prefer visceral impact over intellect. —Richard Corliss, Time, 20 Oct. 2008

  2. But short of such complete apathy, there are other neurological conditions in which the capacity for genuine emotion is compromised. One sees this in some forms of autism, in the “flat affect” of some schizophrenics. … But here, as with Harry, music can often break through, if only in a limited way or for a brief time, and release seemingly normal emotions. —Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia, 2008

  3. According to the polls, “the American people, as opposed to some of their leaders, seek no converts to their ideology.” And they are not “cultural imperialists.” Maybe not. But this reserve seems grounded less in humility (60 percent of Americans consider their culture “superior to others”) than in apathy. —Robert Wright, New York Times Book Review, 14 May 2006

  4. The result could well be further inequality of political information, with avid followers of politics becoming ever more knowledgeable while the rest of the public slips deeper into political apathy. —Martin P. Wattenberg, Atlantic, October 1998

  5. People have shown surprising apathy toward these important social problems.

  6. People have shown a surprising apathy toward these problems.



Origin of apathy

Greek apatheia, from apathēs without feeling, from a- + pathos emotion — more at pathos


First Known Use: 1594


APATHY Defined for Kids

apathy

play
noun ap·a·thy \ˈa-pə-thē\

Definition of apathy

  1. :  lack of feeling or of interest :  indifference <The trip was canceled because of student apathy.>




Medical Dictionary

apathy

play
noun ap·a·thy \ˈap-ə-thē\

Medical Definition of apathy

plural ap·a·thies

  1. :  lack of feeling or emotion





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up apathy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 9, 2016

marked by high spirits and laughter

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

duvet pince-nez spindrift kittly-benders
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ