• WordNet 3.6
    • n cacoethes an irrational but irresistible motive for a belief or action
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Cacoëthes A bad custom or habit; an insatiable desire; as, cacoëthes scribendi, “The itch for writing”.
    • Cacoëthes (Med) A bad quality or disposition in a disease; an incurable ulcer.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n cacoethes A bad custom or habit; a bad disposition.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Cacoethes kak-o-ē′thēz an obstinate habit or disposition.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L., fr. Gr. of ill habits, an ill habit; kako`s bad + habit
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr. kakos, bad, ēthos, habit.


In literature:

Stormed by an attack of his cacoethes scribendi, after those few blank days at Becket, Felix saw nothing amiss with his young daughter.
"The Freelands" by John Galsworthy
Among the rest she was seized with what we men call a cacoethes of the needle: "a raging desire" for work.
"White Lies" by Charles Reade
Cacoethes is a wicked villain, that wittingly and wilfully prepareth mischief.
"Selections from the Table Talk of Martin Luther" by Martin Luther