at·​a·​rax·​ia ˌa-tə-ˈrak-sē-ə How to pronounce ataraxia (audio)
variants or less commonly ataraxy
: 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
ataraxic adjective

Examples of ataraxia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Ancient Greeks called it ataraxia, and the Epicureans said yes. Stephen Miller, WSJ, 31 Aug. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ataraxia.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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-.

First Known Use

1881, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ataraxia was in 1881

Dictionary Entries Near ataraxia

Cite this Entry

“Ataraxia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Medical Definition


at·​a·​rax·​ia ˌat-ə-ˈrak-sē-ə How to pronounce ataraxia (audio)
variants or ataraxy
plural ataraxias or ataraxies
: calmness untroubled by mental or emotional disquiet
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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