stol·​id ˈstä-ləd How to pronounce stolid (audio)
: having or expressing little or no sensibility : unemotional
stolidity noun
stolidly adverb

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Sharpen Up With the History of Stolid

Stolid derives from stolidus, a word that means "dull" or "stupid" in Latin. It is also distantly related to the word stultify, meaning "to cause to appear or be stupid, foolish, or absurdly illogical." The earliest examples of usage for stolid, dating back to the early 17th century, indicate that it too was originally associated with a lack of smarts; it was used to describe people who were considered dull or stupid because they didn't wear their emotions on their sleeves. By the 1800s, however, stolid was frequently appearing without the connotation of foolishness, and it continues to be free of such overtones today.

Choose the Right Synonym for stolid

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

Examples of stolid in a Sentence

She remained stolid during the trial. the butler responded to the duchess's constant demands with stolid indifference
Recent Examples on the Web One is a sumptuously colored tapestry-weave wall hanging, probably from sixth-century Egypt, with an image of a stolid Virgin and Child flanked by archangels with TikTok haircuts. Holland Cotter, New York Times, 16 Nov. 2023 With a straight prow, stolid cabin top, broad aft deck and crow’s nest, the boat, the Western Flyer, is a throwback to the last century — more reminiscent of a child’s toy bobbing in a bathtub’s choppy water than anything taking to the seas today. Thomas Curwen, Los Angeles Times, 3 Nov. 2023 The sixties were kicking up, and McMurtry toggled between working on an anonymous radical publication and writing stories about stolid, repressed cattle ranchers. Rachel Monroe, The New Yorker, 18 Sep. 2023 The tech giant is facing the greatest legal threat in its history, and hopes the stolid approach of Kent Walker, its top lawyer, will once again prevail. Nico Grant, New York Times, 6 Sep. 2023 No, not devoted, because that made her sound stupid and stolid. Tessa Hadley, The New Yorker, 17 July 2023 Perhaps its rightful home is streaming, but that’s just a way of saying that in its stolid and forbidding way, it seems destined to be tossed, like everything else, into the vast sea of content. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 17 May 2023 Experts had all sorts of stolid objections or arguments in favor of it. Christopher Cox Spencer Lowell, New York Times, 22 June 2023 But Nézet-Séguin kept the textures light; even at its mightiest, the sound was never stolid. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, 27 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stolid.' 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 stolidus dull, stupid

First Known Use

circa 1600, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of stolid was circa 1600


Dictionary Entries Near stolid

Cite this Entry

“Stolid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


stol·​id ˈstäl-əd How to pronounce stolid (audio)
: having or expressing little or no feeling : not easily stirred or excited
a stolid person
stolidly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on stolid

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