apathetic

adjective
ap·​a·​thet·​ic | \ˌa-pə-ˈthe-tik \

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 \ -​ti-​k(ə-​)lē \ 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

Drawing congressional districts to favor one party over the other – known as gerrymandering – has led to uncompetitive races that leave voters feeling apathetic or disenfranchised. Jessie Balmert, Cincinnati.com, "Everyone complains about congressional gerrymandering. Ohio just did something about it.," 6 Feb. 2018 These things do not help, but the uncomfortable truth is that in low-turnout electoral politics, a smaller, cohesive, motivated group can go on outvoting a larger, disparate, apathetic group for a long time. The Economist, "Demography is not destinyBuilding a multiracial coalition is more difficult than it seems," 12 July 2018 As soon as his set began, BØRNS appeared glamorously apathetic. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Best and worst of Summerfest Day 9: Janelle Monáe, Flaming Lips, BØRNS, Judah & the Lion and more," 7 July 2018 People have been so complacent, so apathetic to politics, to what's happening in our government. Diane Guerrero, Teen Vogue, "Diane Guerrero: Why the Fourth of July Is a Time for Activism," 4 July 2018 Definition: Lacking interest, care, or enthusiasm; indifferent or apathetic. Stacey Leasca, Southern Living, "9 Words That Will Make You Sound Smarter," 3 July 2018 The delays frustrated voters and good government groups, who worried people would become apathetic if congressional-election outcomes were all but guaranteed. Jessie Balmert, Cincinnati.com, "Ohio voters just approved Issue 1 to curb gerrymandering in Congress," 8 May 2018 However, Republican voters also are showing up in higher numbers than in previous midterm cycles, a sign that the GOP's fate will be sealed not by apathetic conservatives who sit out Election Day, but by voters open to persuasion from both parties. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "A defining debate for Florida politics," 28 June 2018 And that's what the dancer is supposed to be -- the storm that shakes these girls out of an apathetic way of being. Tatiana Cirisano, Billboard, "Rhye Reflects on His 'Rebirth,' Talks Directing 'Phoenix' Video With His Girlfriend/Creative Partner," 5 June 2018

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

1744, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for apathetic

see apathy

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Dictionary Entries near apathetic

Apa Tani

apatetic

apatheia

apathetic

apathogenic

apathy

apatite

Statistics for apathetic

Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for apathetic

The first known use of apathetic was in 1744

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More Definitions for apathetic

apathetic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of apathetic

: not having or showing much emotion or interest

apathetic

adjective
ap·​a·​thet·​ic | \ˌap-ə-ˈthet-ik \

Medical Definition of apathetic 

: having or showing little or no feeling or emotion

Other Words from apathetic

apathetically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

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Comments on apathetic

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