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sto·​ic ˈstō-ik How to pronounce stoic (audio)
capitalized : a member of a school of philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium about 300 b.c. holding that the wise man should be free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief, and submissive to natural law
: one apparently or professedly indifferent to pleasure or pain


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sto·​ic ˈstō-ik How to pronounce stoic (audio)
variants or stoical
capitalized : of, relating to, or resembling the Stoics or their doctrines
Stoic logic
: not affected by or showing passion or feeling
especially : firmly restraining response to pain or distress
a stoic indifference to cold
stoically adverb

Did you know?

What is the origin of stoic?

Zeno of Citium, born in Cyprus in the 4th century B.C.E., traveled to Athens while a young man and studied with the important philosophers of the day, among them two influential Cynics. He eventually arrived at his own philosophy and began teaching at a public hall called the Stoa Poikile. Zeno's philosophy, Stoicism, took its name from the hall where he taught, and it preached self-control, fortitude, and justice; passion was seen as the cause of all evil. By the 14th century, English speakers had adopted the word stoic as a general term for anyone who could face adversity calmly and without excess emotion. By the 15th century, we'd also begun using it as an adjective meaning "not affected by or showing passion or feeling."

Choose the Right Synonym for stoic

impassive, stoic, phlegmatic, apathetic, stolid mean unresponsive to something that might normally excite interest or emotion.

impassive stresses the absence of any external sign of emotion in action or facial expression.

met the news with an impassive look

stoic implies an apparent indifference to pleasure or especially to pain often as a matter of principle or self-discipline.

was resolutely stoic even in adversity

phlegmatic implies a temperament or constitution hard to arouse.

a phlegmatic man unmoved by tears

apathetic may imply a puzzling or deplorable indifference or inertness.

charitable appeals met an apathetic response

stolid implies a habitual absence of interest, responsiveness, or curiosity.

stolid workers wedded to routine

Example Sentences

Noun "That would have been to dishonor him," said Carr, a notorious stoic who was nearly overcome by emotion in his postgame press conference. Instead, he told the Wolverines that the best way to honor Schembechler was "to play in a way that would have made him proud." Austin Murphy, Sports Illustrated, 27 Nov. 2006
The philosophical implications of this claim are as volcanic as the emotions it depicts, for Nussbaum here counters an age-old view espoused by Stoics, Christians and Kantians, alike: emotions are disruptive and subversive to reason, they arise from parochial needs and interests and therefore the life well lived is the life in which the things of this world are left behind for a higher sphere beyond accident, pain and desire. Wendy Steiner, New York Times Book Review, 18 Nov. 2001
Whereas Ludwig Wittgenstein once compared philosophers to garbage men sweeping the mind clean of wrongheaded concepts, Nussbaum believes they should be "lawyers for humanity"—a phrase she borrows from Seneca, her favorite Stoic thinker. Robert S. Boynton, New York Times Magazine, 21 Nov. 1999
Adjective My stoic Serbian brother-in-law, Aleksandar Vasilic, gave me the ultimate confidence booster of bawling all the way through the manuscript when I gave it to him to read. Helene Cooper, The House At Sugar Beach, (2008) 2009
Grant recorded his thought-experiment when he was an old man dying of cancer, who in spite of his pain had managed to achieve a stoical serenity. Jackson Lears, New Republic, 9 & 16 Sept. 2002
As it flew past the pole, a three-run homer, Richardson saw the stoical Berra do something he'd never seen him do. "Halfway between home and first, he was jumping up and down," Richardson recalls. "Boy, was he happy to hit that ball!" William Nack, Sports Illustrated, 23 Oct. 2000
He had a stoic expression on his face. after waiting six years for permission to immigrate to the U.S., the family is stoic about a six-month postponement See More
Recent Examples on the Web
This scene occurs scarcely ten minutes after Rocky has seen Apollo Creed, now his friend, killed in the ring by Ivan Drago, a menacing Soviet stoic. Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker, 7 Mar. 2023 Living as a stoic only during these kinds of events is akin to stopping your gym routine three weeks into January. Theodore Mcdarrah, Forbes, 6 Jan. 2023 The emotion shone through on his usually-stoic face. Dallas News, 12 Mar. 2022 The hero will face plenty of obstacles in his quest, chief of which being other members from the people, with the trailer teasing a battle between Djarin and other stoic, armored warriors. Wilson Chapman, Variety, 10 Sep. 2022 Once inside the facility, the dog appeared stoic and calm, Herrera said, and allowed the staff to give her aid. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 24 May 2022 As General of the Dora Milaje, the stoic Okoye used to be an uncompromising, ruthless warrior. Carrie Wittmer, Rolling Stone, 14 Nov. 2022 Mancini later doubled off the top of the left field wall; by staying in the yard, Odor drove in the Orioles’ second run of the game, serving as the late-game stoic for a second time to level the score. Andy Kostka, Baltimore Sun, 25 Sep. 2022 The icy relationship between the young woman and the stoic curate melts into an affectionate friendship and then, predictably, a fiery romance over the course of their French lessons. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Sep. 2022
While Miep acts to aid those in the annex, taking on shopping lists, having heart-wrenching talks with her stoic boss and even aiding additional Jewish refugees, Jan’s defiant acts also get increasingly dangerous. Aramide Tinubu, Variety, 29 Apr. 2023 As Brown struggled through a 3-for-9 performance from the field, Moore-McNeil was her usual calm, stoic self. Wilson Moore, The Indianapolis Star, 17 Feb. 2023 Edochie plays Mama Efe as a stoic presence in the village, a woman unfazed by the changes happening among her people. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Jan. 2023 The key trope of Panahi’s performance is his concentrated, stoic gaze, which, over the course of the action, shifts from a kind of visually haptic energy to a horrified and resigned detachment. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 24 Jan. 2023 Garces provides a touch of flightiness and gobs of tender poignancy as Annie; Slavin supplies sparkling wit and a shadow of loneliness as Edward; and Lindsey conveys stoic strength that turns by degrees to rage and regret as James. Charles Mcnultytheater Critic, Los Angeles Times, 17 Jan. 2023 By adopting a stoic mindset, founders can stay calm and focused, maintain a sense of perspective, cultivate resilience and perseverance, cultivate gratitude and contentment, and develop a sense of purpose and meaning in their work. Abdo Riani, Forbes, 19 Dec. 2022 The free-spirited and altruistic artist received the unexpected diagnosis after undergoing some routine scans following the car accident at the end of season 2, which left her otherwise stoic ride-or-die bestie Jen (Christina Applegate) in shambles, given her mother's history with the disease. Ew Staff,, 7 Dec. 2022 But the hotel has always felt alive, Tucker says, instead of like a stoic statue. Dallas News, 28 Oct. 2022 See More

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

Word History


Noun and Adjective

Middle English, from Latin stoicus, from Greek stōïkos, literally, of the portico, from Stoa (Poikilē) the Painted Portico, portico at Athens where Zeno taught

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of stoic was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near stoic

Cite this Entry

“Stoic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
sto·​ic ˈstō-ik How to pronounce stoic (audio)
: one not easily excited or upset


2 of 2 adjective
variants or stoical
: unconcerned about pleasure or pain
stoically adverb

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