equa·​nim·​i·​ty | \ ˌē-kwə-ˈni-mə-tē How to pronounce equanimity (audio) , ˌe-kwə- \
plural equanimities

Definition of equanimity

1 : evenness of mind especially under stress nothing could disturb his equanimity
2 : right disposition : balance physical equanimity

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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

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.

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
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Recent Examples on the Web Since the first cases here were diagnosed nearly five weeks ago, an obstinate equanimity has prevailed. Arthur Longworth, The New York Review of Books, "Pandemic Journal, April 6–12," 12 Apr. 2020 The filmmakers do a wonderful job of communicating the pathos and ambivalence of Scottie Pippen and the equanimity and discernment of Phil Jackson. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "The End of History and ‘The Last Dance’," 2 May 2020 Living with equanimity in the awards economy The simplest solution to the problem of awards and rankings would be for society to do away with them altogether. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "The secret to creative success is to stop caring about recognition," 8 Jan. 2020 As a work that concerns spiritual equanimity in the face of mortality and apocalypse, the series, which premieres Monday on Netflix, is also unexpectedly apt for these strange days. Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Adventure Time’ meets a metaphyiscal podcast in Netflix’s extraordinary new ’toon," 20 Apr. 2020 His experience doesn’t speak well for how America treats its greatest artists, though Tyner remembered the period with equanimity. David A. Graham, The Atlantic, "The Jazz Great Behind One of the Most Famous Pairings in Music History," 10 Mar. 2020 After 16 years in remission, Cindy confronted a return of metastatic breast cancer in 2018 and faced the past year with the utmost in courage and equanimity. sun-sentinel.com, "Deaths in South Florida: 11/1," 1 Nov. 2019 Not everyone reacted with equanimity; one image in the series captures a man flipping Dvir off. Michael Hardy, Wired, "The Profound Loneliness of New York Subway Platforms," 23 Feb. 2020 And fasting is recommended by a host of faiths, who tout its spiritual benefits, from self-mastery to equanimity. Daniel Burke, CNN, "Why some Christians are fasting this holiday season," 23 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'equanimity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of equanimity

circa 1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for equanimity

Latin aequanimitas, from aequo animo with even mind

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Time Traveler for equanimity

Time Traveler

The first known use of equanimity was circa 1616

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Last Updated

17 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Equanimity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equanimity. Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for equanimity


How to pronounce equanimity (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of equanimity

formal : calm emotions when dealing with problems or pressure

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