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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
Who knew throwing some googly eyes on a glorified pebble could make even the most stoic among us weep? Scottie Andrew, CNN, 5 Mar. 2023 The overhaul has prompted otherwise stoic former security chiefs to speak out, and even warn of civil war. Laurie Kellman And Ilan Ben Zion, Anchorage Daily News, 21 Feb. 2023 The overhaul has prompted otherwise stoic former security chiefs to speak out, and even warn of civil war. Laurie Kellman,, 20 Feb. 2023 James finished with 19 points, clapping his hands after every bucket in the first quarter, a rare display of sheer emotion from the normally stoic Sierra Canyon senior. Los Angeles Times, 1 Feb. 2023 Florence Shaw’s calm, sometimes stoic delivery teeters between talking and whispering. Chris Richards, Washington Post, 26 Jan. 2023 At that one, the wide-eyed but otherwise stoic face of Brian Walshe showed some emotion: incredulity, as his head began a slow shake. Flint Mccolgan Boston Herald (tns), al, 19 Jan. 2023 McCarthy maintained a largely stoic posture in the first round of votes, looking straight ahead when members supported other candidates. Grace Segers, The New Republic, 3 Jan. 2023 Whatever Gregg Popovich said in that moment made the famously stoic L.A. Clippers forward smile. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, 20 Nov. 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 1 Apr. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on stoic

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