apathetic

adjective
ap·​a·​thet·​ic | \ ˌa-pə-ˈthe-tik How to pronounce apathetic (audio) \

Definition of apathetic

1 : having or showing little or no feeling or emotion : spiritless She was listless, apathetic, calm with the calmness of a woman who knows she can suffer no further.— Frank Norris
2 : having little or no interest or concern : indifferent apathetic voters apathetic underachievers

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Other Words from apathetic

apathetically \ ˌa-​pə-​ˈthe-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce apathetically (audio) \ adverb

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

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".

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web For those affected, many feel the apathetic handling of the crisis is clearly due to their Indigenous identity. Brandi Morin, refinery29.com, "One Year After The MMIW Inquiry’s Report, What’s Changed?," 3 June 2020 Adimi juxtaposes history with a story set in 2017 featuring an apathetic engineering student named Ryad. Joan Gaylord, The Christian Science Monitor, "For the love of language: ‘Our Riches’ celebrates reading," 2 June 2020 Your grandparents may brag to you about the good old days, and your parents may tell you that your generation is apathetic and self-centered. Sherrod Brown, WSJ, "The Generation of Progressive Change," 30 Apr. 2020 But promising to select a woman could help him generate more enthusiasm headed into upcoming primary contests, reassuring some voters who may feel apathetic toward Mr. Biden, 77. Katie Glueck, New York Times, "Six Takeaways From the March Democratic Debate," 16 Mar. 2020 Activists on the ground say that Iranians are not apathetic, but will be boycotting the election. Fox News, "Iranian dissidents call for election boycott after regime disqualifies thousands of candidates," 16 Feb. 2020 Fast forward 24 months and the negativity that embroiled the club throughout the 1990s has resurfaced, with many being left apathetic over performances on the pitch. SI.com, "FanView: Anniversary of Moshiri Takeover Shows Contrast in Everton Success On & Off the Pitch," 27 Feb. 2018 According to one study, there are actually five levels of boredom: indifferent, calibrating, searching, reactant, and apathetic. Joey Camire, Quartz, "Why quarantine can make you more creative," 21 Mar. 2020 For its part, the Russian public, largely dispirited and apathetic about politics, didn’t seem that interested, one way or another. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, "Vladimir Putin Positions Himself to Become Russia’s Eternal Leader," 12 Mar. 2020

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

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First Known Use of apathetic

1892, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for apathetic

see apathy

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Time Traveler for apathetic

Time Traveler

The first known use of apathetic was in 1892

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Statistics for apathetic

Last Updated

20 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Apathetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apathetic. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for apathetic

apathetic

adjective
How to pronounce apathetic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of apathetic

: not having or showing much emotion or interest

apathetic

adjective
ap·​a·​thet·​ic | \ ˌap-ə-ˈthet-ik How to pronounce apathetic (audio) \

Medical Definition of apathetic

: having or showing little or no feeling or emotion

Other Words from apathetic

apathetically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce apathetically (audio) \ adverb

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