La·​od·​i·​ce·​an lā-ˌä-də-ˈsē-ən How to pronounce Laodicean (audio) ˌlā-ō-də- How to pronounce Laodicean (audio)
: lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics
Laodicean noun

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English speakers owe the word Laodicean to Chapter 3, verses 15 and 16 of the Book of Revelation, in which the church of Laodicea is admonished for being "neither cold nor hot, . . . neither one nor the other, but just lukewarm" in its devotion. By 1633, the name of that tepid biblical church had become a general term for any half-hearted or irresolute follower of a religious faith. Since then, the word’s use has broadened to cover flimsy political devotion as well. For example, in comparing U.S. presidents, journalist Samuel Hopkins Adams compared "the fiery and aggressive [Theodore] Roosevelt" to "the timorous Laodicean [Warren] Harding."

Word History


from the reproach to the church of the Laodiceans in Revelation 3:15–16

First Known Use

1633, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Laodicean was in 1633


Dictionary Entries Near Laodicean

Cite this Entry

“Laodicean.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

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