equa·​nim·​i·​ty ˌē-kwə-ˈni-mə-tē How to pronounce equanimity (audio)
plural equanimities
: evenness of mind especially under stress
nothing could disturb his equanimity
: right disposition : balance
physical equanimity

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Keep Things Balanced With the Definition of Equanimity

If you think "equanimity" looks like it has something to do with "equal," you've guessed correctly. Both "equanimity" and "equal" are derived from "aequus," a Latin adjective meaning "level" or "equal." "Equanimity" comes from the combination of "aequus" and "animus" ("soul" or "mind") in the Latin phrase aequo animo, which means "with even mind." English speakers began using "equanimity" early in the 17th century with the now obsolete sense "fairness or justness of judgment," which was in keeping with the meaning of the Latin phrase. Equanimity quickly came to suggest keeping a cool head under any sort of pressure, not merely when presented with a problem, and eventually, it developed an extended sense for general balance and harmony.

Choose the Right Synonym for equanimity

equanimity, composure, sangfroid mean evenness of mind under stress.

equanimity suggests a habit of mind that is only rarely disturbed under great strain.

accepted her troubles with equanimity

composure implies the controlling of emotional or mental agitation by an effort of will or as a matter of habit.

maintaining his composure even under hostile questioning

sangfroid implies great coolness and steadiness under strain.

handled the situation with professional sangfroid

Examples of equanimity in a Sentence

Those who are doomed to become artists are seldom blessed with equanimity. They are tossed to drunken heights, only to be brought down into a sludge of headachy despair; their arrogance gives way to humiliation at the next curve of the switchback. Patrick White, Flaws in the Glass, (1981) 1983
She's heading straight for us—he thought.  … And his uneasiness grew by the recollection of the forty tons of dynamite in the body of the Ferndale; not the sort of cargo one thinks of with equanimity in connexion with a threatened collision. Joseph Conrad, Chance, (1913) 1924
an Olympic diver who always displays remarkable equanimity on the platform
Recent Examples on the Web But on April 15, a different type of criminal defendant will enter the same courtroom and test the judge’s equanimity: Donald J. Trump. William K. Rashbaum, New York Times, 8 Apr. 2024 Johnson said that managing his pain over his father’s abandonment taught him how to project equanimity. David D. Kirkpatrick, The New Yorker, 15 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for equanimity 

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

Word History


Latin aequanimitas, from aequo animo with even mind

First Known Use

circa 1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of equanimity was circa 1616


Dictionary Entries Near equanimity

Cite this Entry

“Equanimity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equanimity. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


equa·​nim·​i·​ty ˌē-kwə-ˈnim-ət-ē How to pronounce equanimity (audio)
plural equanimities
: evenness of emotions or temper : composure
accept misfortunes with equanimity

More from Merriam-Webster on equanimity

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