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 \ -​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 starters, don’t take an apathetic approach to personal security. Kristina Libby, Popular Mechanics, "Giving Your FaceApp Selfie to Russians Is a Really Bad Idea," 17 July 2019 Thanks to multiple layers of fear, loathing and ineptitude by our political Ham & Eggers and hash-slinging Fredo Spanos & Sons, San Diegans seemed tired with the whole sporting scene — and worse, apathetic. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Machado signing continues to pay off for Padres, San Diego," 10 July 2019 After a family tragedy, a young woman (Florence Pugh) goes on a jaunt to a Swedish summer festival with her apathetic boyfriend (Jack Reynor) and his pals. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Fourth of July movie guide: The 11 biggest films to keep you entertained after the fireworks," 26 June 2019 Cliff and Ronnie's conversations highlight their apathetic acceptance of the doom that awaits us all. Author: Sonia Rao, Anchorage Daily News, "Snail mail, zombie tai chi and a Bill Murray joy ride: Making ‘The Dead Don’t Die’ was as surreal as it sounds," 13 June 2019 Today, Pat feels more apathetic about her lack of libido than ashamed about it. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "This Is What It's Like to Experience Low Libido," 29 May 2019 Izabella Monreal was 9 years old and an apathetic student, living at Fort Campbell, Ky., when her father, an Army sergeant, was hit by enemy rifle fire in Afghanistan. Alia Malik, ExpressNews.com, "College path for San Antonio student started with dad’s combat wound," 4 June 2019 My feelings toward body wash can best be described as the complete and total opposite of how people feel about something like Glossier: apathetic. Tara Gonzalez, Glamour, "Nécessaire Body Wash Is So Popular It’s Basically an Influencer," 19 Apr. 2019 The video is set in very Wes Anderson–like movie theater, titled Persona, where Halsey serves as the apathetic ticket-booth clerk. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "BTS Drops a New Album and Music Video With Halsey—And It’s a Visual Feast," 12 Apr. 2019

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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Dictionary Entries near apathetic

Apa Tani







Statistics for apathetic

Last Updated

2 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for apathetic

The first known use of apathetic was in 1892

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More Definitions for apathetic



English Language Learners Definition of apathetic

: not having or showing much emotion or interest


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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