ap·​a·​thet·​ic ˌa-pə-ˈthe-tik How to pronounce apathetic (audio)
: affected by, characterized by, or displaying apathy : having or showing little or no interest, concern, or emotion
apathetic voters
apathetic indifference
an apathetic attitude/response
It's really easy to feel apathetic about politics and forget how much they affect our daily lives.Emily Shwake
NFL fans and media members are mostly apathetic toward the exhibition games.Henry McKenna
Even with Doppler radar and networks of spotters, many residents of Tornado Alley are surprisingly apathetic.Warren Faidley
She was listless, apathetic, calm with the calmness of a woman who knows she can suffer no further.Frank Norris
Children or teens who are … depressed and apatheticVictoria L. Dunckley
People with abnormally low levels of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) are often listless and apathetic; in fact, the symptoms may look very much like endogenous depression.Lester Grinspoon et al.
… there is no emotion and she remains apathetic to all around her.leitrimobserver.ie
apathetically adverb

Did you know?

Discover if You're Apathetic

Apathy, or lack of emotion, is central to Albert Camus's famous novel The Stranger, in which the main character's indifference toward almost everything, including his mother's death, results in his imprisonment. We feel little sympathy for him, and may even feel antipathy, or dislike. The American voter is often called apathetic; of all the industrial democracies, only in America does half the adult population fail to vote in major elections. As you can see, apathetic isn't the opposite of pathetic, even though the a- that it begins with means "not" or "without".

Choose the Right Synonym for apathetic

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

Examples of apathetic in a Sentence

But contrary to popular belief, not all jocks are as apathetic as they are athletic. One such progressive player is Toni Smith, a college basketball player who turned her back on Old Glory every time the national anthem was played before her games last season. In a written statement, she cited America's systemic inequalities as her reason for not saluting the flag. Complex, June/July 2003
The disorder is sometimes inherited via a defective gene from one parent, and patients are usually spared signs of the disorder until they reach their fifties. Because the brain-cell loss occurs in parts of the brain that help regulate social behavior, personality changes are the most common manifestations of the illness. Patients tend to become either uninhibited or apathetic. Bruce L. Miller, Discover, January 1998
But in cities such as Boston, Cincinnati, Oakland, San Francisco, and Seattle, reformers are trying to recharge an apathetic electorate by taking aim at the very process of voting itself. Wilma Rule et al., Ms., September/October 1996
Young people are becoming increasingly apathetic. the apathetic attitude of the public Surprisingly, most Americans are apathetic toward this important issue.
Recent Examples on the Web But while the dueling campaigns fight for relevance among apathetic voters, their messages are not always cutting through the noise. Faith E. Pinho, Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2024 Retail investors are frequently apathetic, even in the face of a contest, proxy experts say. Lauren Hirsch, New York Times, 30 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for apathetic 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'apathetic.' 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 New Latin apathēticus, from a- a- entry 2 + pathēticus pathetic, after apathīa apathy

First Known Use

1692, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of apathetic was in 1692

Dictionary Entries Near apathetic

Cite this Entry

“Apathetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apathetic. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ap·​a·​thet·​ic ˌap-ə-ˈthet-ik How to pronounce apathetic (audio)
: having or showing little or no feeling or interest
apathetically adverb

Medical Definition


ap·​a·​thet·​ic ˌap-ə-ˈthet-ik How to pronounce apathetic (audio)
: having or showing little or no feeling or emotion
apathetically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on apathetic

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