at·​a·​rax·​ia | \ ˌa-tə-ˈrak-sē-ə How to pronounce ataraxia (audio) \
variants: or less commonly ataraxy \ ˈa-​t​ə-​​ˌrak-​​sē How to pronounce ataraxia (audio) \

Definition of ataraxia

: calmness untroubled by mental or emotional disquiet The highest goal of an Epicurean disciple was ataraxia—tranquility of mind.— Erich Segal Hermann Cohen contrasted the prophets' appreciation of the urgencies of history to the teachings of Stoicism enjoining ataraxia, the ideal of tranquillity to be attained by freeing oneself from emotional concerns and anxiety.— Paul Mendes-Flohr

Other Words from ataraxia

ataraxic \ ˌa-​tə-​ˈrak-​sik How to pronounce ataraxia (audio) \ adjective

First Known Use of ataraxia

1881, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ataraxia

borrowed from Middle French & Greek; Middle French ataraxie, borrowed from Greek ataraxía, from atáraktos "calm, unexcited" (from a- a- entry 2 + taraktós, verbal adjective of tarássein, (Attic) taráttein "to stir up, disturb, agitate mentally or emotionally") + -ia -y entry 2; tarássein going back to Indo-European *dhr̥h2gh-i̯é-, zero grade ablaut derivative of *dhreh2gh- "be stirred up, become turbulent," whence also Old Church Slavic razdražǫ, razdražiti "to provoke, make angry," Lithuanian dérgiu, dérgti "to make dirty, besmirch, defame"

Note: Greek tarássein has an alternate present thrássein/thráttein, aorist infinitive thrâxai, formed perhaps from an accentual variant *dhŕ̥h2gh-.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ataraxia

Time Traveler for ataraxia

Time Traveler

The first known use of ataraxia was in 1881

See more words from the same year

Statistics for ataraxia

Cite this Entry

“Ataraxia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ataraxia


at·​a·​rax·​ia | \ ˌat-ə-ˈrak-sē-ə How to pronounce ataraxia (audio) \
variants: or ataraxy \ ˈat-​ə-​ˌrak-​sē How to pronounce ataraxia (audio) \
plural ataraxias or ataraxies

Medical Definition of ataraxia

: calmness untroubled by mental or emotional disquiet

Comments on ataraxia

What made you want to look up ataraxia? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!