sto·​ic | \ ˈstō-ik How to pronounce stoic (audio) \

Definition of stoic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 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
2 : one apparently or professedly indifferent to pleasure or pain


sto·​ic | \ ˈstō-ik How to pronounce stoic (audio) \
variants: or stoical \ ˈstō-​i-​kəl How to pronounce stoic (audio) \

Definition of stoic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 capitalized : of, relating to, or resembling the Stoics or their doctrines Stoic logic
2 : not affected by or showing passion or feeling especially : firmly restraining response to pain or distress a stoic indifference to cold

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Other Words from stoic


stoically \ ˈstō-​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce stoic (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for stoic

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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

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."

Examples of stoic in a Sentence

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Her photographs have a stoic yet fluid presence, thick with inky memories; her film and video works are full of movement, magic, song and even humor. Danielle Avram, Dallas News, "Shirin Neshat embraces the unknown and the outsider in her exhibition at the Modern," 18 Mar. 2021 The young boy’s expression never changed, remaining stoic even when challenged at uncomfortably high volume. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, "UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. makes fans on both sides of the border with tenacious play," 2 Apr. 2021 The definition of a stoic is a person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Will we see Queen Elizabeth crying at Prince Philip's funeral? Here's why she stays stoic," 17 Apr. 2021 Flanigan, with a classical, enigmatic face lifted from a Da Vinci portrait, delivers a stoic yet transfixing performance as Autumn. Beth Marchant, Los Angeles Times, "Cinematographer Hélène Louvart shoots ‘Never Rarely’ as an intimate anti-road movie," 27 Jan. 2021 Many describe him as stoic, someone whose voice rarely wavers and whose oratory won’t long be remembered. Joe Garofoli,, "California’s Alex Padilla brings rare Senate perspective — an immigrant family’s struggle for dignity," 25 Jan. 2021 Justin Bieber is a pro at staying stoic in the face of truly awkward interactions. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Ellen Degeneres' Most Recent Interview with Justin Bieber is Extremely Cringe-Worthy," 1 Dec. 2020 Today, the Gophers move to the St. Paul Civic Center for the WCHA tournament, and even John, the stoic of the stands, feels himself getting emotional. Patrick Reusse, Star Tribune, "March 11, 1990: Visiting hockey Hankinsons of Edina was a howl," 22 Nov. 2020 Regardless of his physical situation, Kershaw sat in the dugout, looking stoic after his outing. Sam Blum, Dallas News, "Clayton Kershaw’s postseason struggles bite Dodgers again in 10-2 Game 4 loss," 16 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The stoic Fire Nation character is Ty Lee's best friend and Zuko's love interest. Rachel Yang,, "Funko unveils new Avatar: The Last Airbender figurines, including Avatar State Aang and Suki," 22 Apr. 2021 Gunn remained stoic and meandered to his spot on the free throw line, where Carmel would further its lead again. Michael Mccleary, The Indianapolis Star, "Lawrence North falls short in overtime game decided at the line, loses 51-46 to Carmel," 4 Apr. 2021 But even the stoic Cal quarterback will say that last year’s Big Game altered his life. Rusty Simmons,, "The Big Game defines Cal and Stanford QBs, but Chase Garbers is different," 25 Nov. 2020 Many men have been programmed to be tough, macho, independent, stoic. Michael Obsatz, Star Tribune, "Not all white men are the same," 24 Mar. 2021 Upon hearing that they would be sent back to detention centers, most defendants were stoic. Washington Post, "After marathon bail hearings, Hong Kong pro-democracy activists find themselves back in detention," 4 Mar. 2021 Hemingway, the man and the artist, embodied as well as any real-life individual an earlier ideal of the stoic male hero, the hard-drinking, tough-minded soldier of fortune living lustily (in every sense) without betraying much emotion. D.j. Tice, Star Tribune, "'Hemingway' faces hard facts," 5 Apr. 2021 Christa Lee stood stoic in her mask, looking around the block. Washington Post, "In Atlanta, photographer Hannah Yoon chronicles an Asian American community staggered by a mass shooting," 25 Mar. 2021 Kicking out the stops on the stoic 300 SEL 6.3, the AMG racer used the 6.3-liter V-8 bored out to 6.8 liters, upping the output to about 420 hp. Robert Ross, Robb Report, "Under the Hood: This Reborn Version of the Mercedes “Red Pig” Has Us in Hog Heaven," 2 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stoic.' 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 stoic


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for stoic

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

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Time Traveler for stoic

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

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Last Updated

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stoic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for stoic



English Language Learners Definition of stoic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who accepts what happens without complaining or showing emotion



English Language Learners Definition of stoic (Entry 2 of 2)

: showing no emotion especially when something bad is happening

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