Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Spiritual torpor and apathy; ennui.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An abnormal mental condition, characterized by carelessness, listlessness, fatigue, and want of interest in affairs.
  • noun A Cuban name for a species of tongue-fish or sole, Symphurus plagusia.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun apathy and inactivity in the practice of virtue (personified as one of the deadly sins).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun spiritual or mental sloth.
  • noun apathy; a lack of care or interest; indifference
  • noun boredom

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun apathy and inactivity in the practice of virtue (personified as one of the deadly sins)

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Late Latin, from Greek akēdeia, indifference : a-, a-; see a– + kēdos, care.]

Examples

  • Cassian himself dwells on the horrible liability of the monks to the principal vices which infest human nature — gluttony, uncleanness, avarice, anger, vainglory, pride — above all, that despairing and unaccountable melancholy which they call acedia, and describe as “the demon that walketh in the noonday.”

    Gathering Clouds: A Tale of the Days of St. Chrysostom

  • I returned to my old way of life, out of desperation, loneliness, isolation, I was supposedly a hermit and what is called 'acedia' - something many people today think is the 'dark night' - it's not.

    Archive 2006-07-09

  • I returned to my old way of life, out of desperation, loneliness, isolation, I was supposedly a hermit and what is called 'acedia' - something many people today think is the 'dark night' - it's not.

    Compunction

  • And as the subtitle promises the themes it will explore are the intersections of acedia with the writer's marriage -- especially with her husband's illness and death; with monks, who come in both because Norris first encountered the term acedia in the writings of the desert fathers and because she's a Benedictine oblate and thus has found that participating in the monastic life as a lay person has been for her a primary means of combating acedia; and the writing life, both Norris and her late husband are published poets.

    The Wine Dark Sea

  • Simple boredom is the sort you suffer from during long Christmas dinners or political speeches; "existential" boredom is more complex and persistent, taking in many conditions, such as melancholia, depression, world weariness and what the psalmist called the "destruction that wasteth at noonday"—or spiritual despair, often referred to as acedia or accidie.

    Accidie? Ennui? Sigh . . .

  • People do feel helpless, but I believe that sense is itself a sign of something spiritually deadly: what the Fathers and Doctors of the Church called acedia or the deadly sin of "sloth."

    Archive 2005-10-01

  • People do feel helpless, but I believe that sense is itself a sign of something spiritually deadly: what the Fathers and Doctors of the Church called acedia or the deadly sin of "sloth."

    The creepiest horror

  • The ancient word acedia, which in Greek simply means the absence or lack of care, has proved anything but simple when it comes to finding adequate expression in English.

    The Wine Dark Sea

  • I wrote my book because I suspected that although the word "acedia" is unfamiliar to most of us, its effects are widely known.

    Signs of the Times

  • Rather than titillate or horrify, MTV's Skins elicits a certain acedia -- a lingering spiritual listlessness or torpor that the ancients counted among the Seven Deadly Sins.

    Cathleen Falsani: MTV's Skins: Suffer The Little Children

Comments

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  • 1. Apathy; a lack of care or interest; indifference

    2. Spiritual or mental sloth;

    3. boredom

    Acedia is a Latin word, from Greek akedia, literally meaning "absence of caring".

    May 7, 2008

  • "Melancholy, as it was called until the twentieth century, is of course a very ancient problem, and was described in the fifth century BC by Hippocrates. Chaucer's fourteenth-century characters were aware of it, and late medieval churchmen knew it as acedia, which was technically a sin, since it often led to the neglect of religious obligations."

    —Barbara Ehrenreich, Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), 133

    Gee, just what a depressed person needs: to be told that being depressed is a sin.

    March 14, 2009