ace·​dia | \ ə-ˈsē-dē-ə How to pronounce acedia (audio) \

Definition of acedia

Did you know?

Acedia comes from a combination of the negative prefix a- and the Greek noun kēdos, meaning "care, concern, or grief." (The Greek word akēdeia became acedia in Late Latin, and that spelling was retained in English.) Acedia initially referred specifically to the "deadly sin" of sloth. It first appeared in print in English in 1607 describing ceremonies which could induce this sin in ministers and pastors, but that sense is now rare. Acedia now tends to be used more generally to simply imply a lack of interest or caring, although it sometimes still carries overtones of laziness.

Examples of acedia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web His cycles of anxiety and acedia grew so acute that suicide seemed the only escape. Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acedia.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of acedia

1607, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for acedia

borrowed from Medieval Latin acēdia "apathy, torpor, sloth," borrowed from Late Greek akēdía "negligence, apathy," going back to Greek akḗdeia "carelessness, indifference," noun derivative of akēdḗs "uncared for, without care or worry, careless, heedless," from a- a- entry 2 + -kēdēs, adjective derivative of kêdos "care, anxiety, grief" — more at hate entry 1

Learn More About acedia

Listen to Our Podcast About acedia

Dictionary Entries Near acedia




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for acedia

Cite this Entry

“Acedia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!