apathy was our Word of the Day on 04/29/2009. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of apathy in a Sentence
- That's the danger of a teeming cast of … characters: they get jumbled in the viewer's mind, and … apathy ensues. Novels can afford a rich banquet of personalities; it's what readers sign up for. But ratiocination isn't welcome in modern movies, which prefer visceral impact over intellect. —Richard Corliss, Time, 20 Oct. 2008
- But short of such complete apathy, there are other neurological conditions in which the capacity for genuine emotion is compromised. One sees this in some forms of autism, in the "flat affect" of some schizophrenics. … But here, as with Harry, music can often break through, if only in a limited way or for a brief time, and release seemingly normal emotions. —Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia, 2008
- According to the polls, "the American people, as opposed to some of their leaders, seek no converts to their ideology." And they are not "cultural imperialists." Maybe not. But this reserve seems grounded less in humility (60 percent of Americans consider their culture "superior to others") than in apathy. —Robert Wright, New York Times Book Review, 14 May 2006
- The result could well be further inequality of political information, with avid followers of politics becoming ever more knowledgeable while the rest of the public slips deeper into political apathy. —Martin P. Wattenberg, Atlantic, October 1998
People have shown surprising apathy toward these important social problems.
People have shown a surprising apathy toward these problems.
Recent Examples of apathy from the Web
That apathy about Russian domestic politics appears to be widespread.
Their apathy-brimming confidence-stripped shells are destined for demise; however, those who prey on their suffering must also be held to account.
With little opposition tolerated and widespread apathy about the outcome amid stagnating living standards, the Kremlin’s main task is to ensure turnout for Sunday’s election is enough to give Putin’s new term a stamp of legitimacy.
Grachan’s job at LaGuardia is to ensure that his students break through the obstruction and apathy and get the most out of their next college.
Consequently, many members fail to vote, and that apathy often dooms the CC&Rs update effort.
Their aim is to not to convince but to foment cynicism, apathy and a sense that believing official accounts is for chumps.
At this hospital outside the city of Rio de Janeiro, which has seen a drastic uptick in gunshot victims during the last five years, the response to persistent violence in the region has become a mixture of urgency and apathy.
In the finale of American Crime Story, Cunanan's acquaintance, Ronnie Holston, blames homophobia and apathy for law enforcement's delay in catching Cunanan prior to Versace's murder.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apathy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
How apathy Differs from impassivity and indifference
Apathy, impassivity, and indifference all denote a lack of responsiveness to something that might normally excite interest or emotion. Apathy suggests a puzzling or deplorable inertness or lack of passion, as in “the problem of continued voter apathy.” Impassivity stresses the absence of any external sign of emotion in action or facial expression, as in “teachers frustrated by the impassivity of their students.” Indifference connotes a lack of interest in or concern about something, as in “the company’s apparent indifference to the needs of its employees.”
The Greek Origins of apathy
There's no reason to be uncaring about the origins of apathy—though there is a clue to the word's beginnings in this sentence. Apathy was borrowed into English in the late 16th century from Greek apatheia, which itself comes from the adjective apathēs, meaning "without feeling." Apathēs, in turn, was formed by combining the negating prefix a- with pathos, meaning "emotion." Incidentally, if you've guessed that pathos is the source of the identically spelled noun in English (meaning either "an element in experience or in artistic representation evoking pity or compassion" or "an emotion of sympathetic pity"), you are correct. Pathos also gave us such words as antipathy, empathy, sympathy, pathetic, and even the archaic word pathematic ("emotional").
APATHY Defined for English Language Learners
: the feeling of not having much emotion or interest : an apathetic state
APATHY Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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