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 ataraxy (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 ataraxic (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-.

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The first known use of ataraxia was in 1881

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Cite this Entry

“Ataraxia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Apr. 2020.

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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 ataraxy (audio) \
plural ataraxias or ataraxies

Medical Definition of ataraxia

: calmness untroubled by mental or emotional disquiet

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