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noun sto·ic \ˈstō-ik\

Simple Definition of stoic

  • : a person who accepts what happens without complaining or showing emotion

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of stoic

  1. 1 capitalized :  a member of a school of philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium about 300 b.c. holding that the wise man should be free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief, and submissive to natural law

  2. 2 :  one apparently or professedly indifferent to pleasure or pain

Examples of stoic in a sentence

  1. “That would have been to dishonor him,” said Carr, a notorious stoic who was nearly overcome by emotion in his postgame press conference. Instead, he told the Wolverines that the best way to honor Schembechler was “to play in a way that would have made him proud.” —Austin Murphy, Sports Illustrated, 27 Nov. 2006

  2. The philosophical implications of this claim are as volcanic as the emotions it depicts, for Nussbaum here counters an age-old view espoused by Stoics, Christians and Kantians, alike: emotions are disruptive and subversive to reason, they arise from parochial needs and interests and therefore the life well lived is the life in which the things of this world are left behind for a higher sphere beyond accident, pain and desire. —Wendy Steiner, New York Times Book Review, 18 Nov. 2001

  3. Whereas Ludwig Wittgenstein once compared philosophers to garbage men sweeping the mind clean of wrongheaded concepts, Nussbaum believes they should be “lawyers for humanity”—a phrase she borrows from Seneca, her favorite Stoic thinker. —Robert S. Boynton, New York Times Magazine, 21 Nov. 1999

Did You Know?

Zeno of Citium, born in Cyprus in the 4th century B.C.E., traveled to Athens while a young man and studied with the important philosophers of the day, among them two influential Cynics. He eventually arrived at his own philosophy and began teaching at a public hall called the Stoa Poikile. Zeno's philosophy, Stoicism, took its name from the hall where he taught, and it preached self-control, fortitude, and justice; passion was seen as the cause of all evil. By the 14th century, English speakers had adopted the word stoic as a general term for anyone who could face adversity calmly and without excess emotion. By the 15th century, we'd also begun using it as an adjective meaning "not affected by or showing passion or feeling."

Origin and Etymology of stoic

Middle English, from Latin stoicus, from Greek stōïkos, literally, of the portico, from Stoa (Poikilē) the Painted Portico, portico at Athens where Zeno taught

First Known Use: 14th century



adjective sto·ic \ˈstō-ik\

Simple Definition of stoic

  • : showing no emotion especially when something bad is happening

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of stoic

  1. 1 capitalized :  of, relating to, or resembling the Stoics (see 1stoic) or their doctrines <Stoic logic>

  2. 2 :  not affected by or showing passion or feeling; especially :  firmly restraining response to pain or distress <a stoic indifference to cold>


play \-i-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of stoic in a sentence

  1. My stoic Serbian brother-in-law, Aleksandar Vasilic, gave me the ultimate confidence booster of bawling all the way through the manuscript when I gave it to him to read. —Helene Cooper, The House At Sugar Beach, (2008) 2009

  2. Grant recorded his thought-experiment when he was an old man dying of cancer, who in spite of his pain had managed to achieve a stoical serenity. —Jackson Lears, New Republic, 9 & 16 Sept. 2002

  3. As it flew past the pole, a three-run homer, Richardson saw the stoical Berra do something he'd never seen him do. “Halfway between home and first, he was jumping up and down,” Richardson recalls. “Boy, was he happy to hit that ball!” —William Nack, Sports Illustrated, 23 Oct. 2000

  4. He had a stoic expression on his face.

  5. <after waiting six years for permission to immigrate to the U.S., the family is stoic about a six-month postponement>

Variants of stoic



play \-i-kəl\

Origin and Etymology of stoic

(see 1stoic)

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of stoic

impassive, stoic, phlegmatic, apathetic, stolid mean unresponsive to something that might normally excite interest or emotion. impassive stresses the absence of any external sign of emotion in action or facial expression <met the news with an impassive look>. stoic implies an apparent indifference to pleasure or especially to pain often as a matter of principle or self-discipline <was resolutely stoic even in adversity>. phlegmatic implies a temperament or constitution hard to arouse <a phlegmatic man unmoved by tears>. apathetic may imply a puzzling or deplorable indifference or inertness <charitable appeals met an apathetic response>. stolid implies a habitual absence of interest, responsiveness, or curiosity <stolid workers wedded to routine>.

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