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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


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


noun ap·a·thy \ˈap-ə-thē\

Medical Definition of apathy

plural ap·a·thies

  1. :  lack of feeling or emotion

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