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Synonym Chooser

How is the word apathetic distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of apathetic are impassive, phlegmatic, stoic, and stolid. While all these words mean "unresponsive to something that might normally excite interest or emotion," apathetic may imply a puzzling or deplorable indifference or inertness.

charitable appeals met an apathetic response

Where would impassive be a reasonable alternative to apathetic?

The meanings of impassive and apathetic largely overlap; however, impassive stresses the absence of any external sign of emotion in action or facial expression.

met the news with an impassive look

When can phlegmatic be used instead of apathetic?

In some situations, the words phlegmatic and apathetic are roughly equivalent. However, phlegmatic implies a temperament or constitution hard to arouse.

a phlegmatic man unmoved by tears

When might stoic be a better fit than apathetic?

The words stoic and apathetic are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, 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

When is stolid a more appropriate choice than apathetic?

The words stolid and apathetic can be used in similar contexts, but stolid implies a habitual absence of interest, responsiveness, or curiosity.

stolid workers wedded to routine

Thesaurus Entries Near apathetic

Cite this Entry

“Apathetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/apathetic. Accessed 26 Nov. 2022.

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