apathy

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n apathy the trait of lacking enthusiasm for or interest in things generally
    • n apathy an absence of emotion or enthusiasm
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Apathy Want of feeling; privation of passion, emotion, or excitement; dispassion; -- applied either to the body or the mind. As applied to the mind, it is a calmness, indolence, or state of indifference, incapable of being ruffled or roused to active interest or exertion by pleasure, pain, or passion.☞ In the first ages of the church, the Christians adopted the term to express a contempt of earthly concerns. "The apathy of despair.""A certain apathy or sluggishness in his nature which led him . . . to leave events to take their own course.""According to the Stoics, apathy meant the extinction of the passions by the ascendency of reason."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n apathy Want of feeling; absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement; insensibility; indifference.
    • n apathy Synonyms Indifference, Insensibility, Impassibility, Apathy, Stoicism, Unconcern, Phlegm, Calmness, torpor, coldness, coolness, unfeelingness, lethargy, immobility. (See list under indifference.) Indifference denotes absence of feeling, passion, or desire toward a particular object: as, indifference to pain or ridicule. Apathy commonly implies a general want of feeling, a complete indifference in regard to anything, due to want of interest or attention, as in the case of a repressed or sluggish intellect, or of extreme illness or affliction. Insensibility and impassibility suggest the lack of capacity for feeling, or an absence of susceptibility, being qualities rather than states of mind. Indifference arising from impassibility relates more particularly to internal, that arising from insensibility to external, impressions; the former is, moreover, more profound and radical than the latter. Indifference may be an entirely proper state under the circumstances; insensibility and impassibility are always at least to be pitied; unconcern is always and indifference sometimes blameworthy, as cold and selfish. Stoicism is a studied suppression of feeling, or the concealment especially of painful feeling by force of will. Unconcern is absence of solicitude. (See care.) Phlegm most suggestive of physical temperament; it is a constitutional dullness or sluggishness, an incapability of being aroused by anything. Calmness is a tranquillity resulting from the mastery of the will over passions and feelings that perhaps are strong and keen, and hence is always commendable.
    • n apathy In the Stoic philos., a certain imperturbability produced in the wise man's soul by sincere rejection of the notion that pleasure is in itself desirable, or pain in itself undesirable and by trained watchfulness to exclude all unreasonable passions (all passions affecting conduct being regarded as unreasonable).
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Apathy ap′ath-i want of feeling: absence of passion: indifference
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Quotations

  • Charles Francis Adams
    Charles Francis Adams
    “In this country men seem to live for action as long as they can and sink into apathy when they retire.”
  • Leo Buscaglia
    Leo%20Buscaglia
    “I have a very strong feeling that the opposite of love is not hate -- it's apathy. It's not giving a damn.”
  • Helen Keller
    Helen%20Keller
    “We may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings.”
  • Cyril Connolly
    Cyril%20Connolly
    “Slums may well be breeding-grounds of crime, but middle-class suburbs are incubators of apathy and delirium.”
  • Carl Jung
    Carl%20Jung
    “There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion.”
  • Rollo May
    Rollo May
    “Hate is not the opposite of love; apathy is.”

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. apathia, Gr. ; 'a priv. + , fr. , , to suffer: cf. F. apathie,. See Pathos
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr.; a, neg., pathos, feeling.

Usage

In literature:

But his apathy only served to heighten Madame's agitation.
"A Versailles Christmas-Tide" by Mary Stuart Boyd
At times, however, their apathy and laziness is amazing.
"Sport and Work on the Nepaul Frontier" by James Inglis
Some quarters still resist the encroachments of silence and apathy.
"Paris under the Commune" by John Leighton
She felt also a strange apathy which prevented her being alarmed.
"Saxe Holm's Stories" by Helen Hunt Jackson
Bennington's distress became apathy.
"The Claim Jumpers" by Stewart Edward White
Shake off that infernal apathy that's taking possession of you where I'm concerned.
"Big Timber" by Bertrand W. Sinclair
But his head was aching from the blow of the tomahawk, and he waited in a sort of apathy.
"The Masters of the Peaks" by Joseph A. Altsheler
Its energy is exerted in frenzied fits; its forbearance is apathy or ignorance.
"Lands of the Slave and the Free" by Henry A. Murray
The cause of this sudden abandonment of their previous apathy soon revealed itself.
"A further contribution to the study of the mortuary customs of the North American Indians" by H. C. Yarrow
One notable result of dulness and apathy is to make a person unattractive to the opposite sex and to be unattracted by them.
"Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development" by Francis Galton
But I experienced an apathy, for which neither then nor afterwards did I quite know how to account.
"J. S. Le Fanu's Ghostly Tales, Volume 2" by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Looking at it from the purely philosophic point of view there is something sad in this dull apathy.
"Hodge and His Masters" by Richard Jefferies
Why so much apathy, Krishna, beside the fig tree?
"The Loves of Krishna in Indian Painting and Poetry" by W. G. Archer
The Turks alone showed apathy; though all showed submission.
"The Wing-and-Wing" by J. Fenimore Cooper
There was general apathy with regard to improvement in any way whatever.
"American Missionary, Vol. XLII., May, 1888., No. 5" by Various
His only companions were two negroes, who, with the apathy of their race, spent the principal part of the time in sleep.
"Discoveries in Australia, Volume 2" by John Lort Stokes
Your Seneca's, your Epictetus's, and the rest of your stoical tribe, with all their apathy nonsense, could not come up to this.
"Clarissa, Or The History Of A Young Lady, Volume 8" by Samuel Richardson
I have shaken off my stolid apathy, or, rather, it has fallen off of itself.
"Nancy" by Rhoda Broughton
Startled, now and then, into admiration or wonder, my apathy fell from me like a garment, and my heart throbbed again as of old.
"In the Days of My Youth" by Amelia Ann Blandford Edwards
Both socially and in its effects upon individuals, the result of the system in Ceylon has been apathy almost approaching to infidelity.
"Ceylon; an Account of the Island Physical, Historical, and Topographical with Notices of Its Natural History, Antiquities and Productions, Volume 1 (of 2)" by James Emerson Tennent
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In poetry:

Sons of Liberty, arise!
Who your country's glory prize,
Spread your banner to the skies!
Wake from apathy!
"Sons of Liberty" by John Pierpont
I. Come, Apathy, and o'er me breathe thy spell,
Whilst I devote to thee those bosom'd treasures
Which feeling gave, and thou shalt sound the knell
Of my departed joys and dying pleasures.
"Spleen" by Sydney Owenson
But, if thy magic pow'rs impart
One soft sensation to the heart,
If thy warm precepts can dispense
One thrilling transport o'er my sense; Oh! keep thy gifts, and let me fly,
In APATHY's cold arms to die.
"Ode to the Muse" by Mary Darby Robinson
Oh, Ignorance!
Thou art fallen man's best friend! With thee he speeds
In frigid apathy along his way.
And never does the tear of agony
Burn down his scorching cheek; or the keen steel
Of wounded feeling penetrate his breast.
"Fragment" by Henry Kirke White
Teach me, with active zeal, to wake
At nature's sigh, for pity's sake,
When pride in dreams of apathy will nod!
Still guided by thy Christian breath,
Keep me, thro' scenes of life, and death,
To mortals kind, and dutiful to God.
"Hymn To Humility" by William Hayley
No brave endeavor of the broken will
To cling to such poor stays as will abide
(Although the waves be wild and angry still)
After the lapsing of the swollen tide.
No fear of further loss, no hope of gain,
Naught but the apathy of weary pain.
"Epochs" by Emma Lazarus

In news:

Gross Out and About Maps & Atlases Kick Apathy to the Curb at Neurolux.
Apathy on the rise in Mariners Nation.
Money, apathy are Chafin's assets.
Obama Campus Fervor Losing to Apathy as Students Sour on 2012.
Kosovo's biggest problem: Balkans ' apathy.
Rolling Stones fans, if you're feeling slightly despondent given your apathy regarding the upcoming 2012 Presidental election, we think we've found another reason for you to be sprightly about early November.
Sometimes it is hard to know whether to channel the rage or let apathy wash over you.
You can call it "Facebook Apathy" or "Facebook Funk," but "Facebook Fatigue" it isn't.
'Degree of apathy' cited in report.
The other is voter apathy, especially among the young.
Trying to label THE defense mechanism of Gen Xers -- "a kind of diligent apathy," according to Wampole -- is as strained trying to characterize one reviled stereotype, the hipster , as somehow representative of all Millennials.
Our editorial this week warns about the danger of apathy among Catholics.
Confusion or apathy about the marquee race on today's ballots should not keep voters from making their way to polling places in order to decide races much closer to home.
President Barack Obama incited a lot of excitement among young voters in 2008, but at a young professionals round table in downtown Pittsburgh Tuesday, a worry about voter apathy was expressed.
Across Pennsylvania, hundreds of local government elected positions are vacant, and it's too easy to dismiss the problem as simple apathy.
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