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

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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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'acedia.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1607, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of acedia was in 1607


Dictionary Entries Near acedia

Cite this Entry

“Acedia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2024.

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