Definition of abulia in US English:


(also aboulia)


  • An absence of willpower or an inability to act decisively, as a symptom of mental illness.

    • ‘Among the animal tests Skinner reported upon were some that induced abulia.’
    • ‘Attempts to attribute Hamlet's general aboulia to less constitutional causes, such as grief due to the death of his father and the adultery of his mother, are similarly inefficacious, for psycho-pathology has clearly demonstrated that such grief is in itself quite inadequate as an explanation of this condition.’
    • ‘This abulia is really getting to me, I can't figure it out.’
    • ‘We report 2 previously non-demented patients who developed acute confusional state, abulia, and moderate cognitive decline after the occurrence of an infarct in the capsular genu.’
    • ‘This self should be free from mental and physical stigmata (suggestibility, amnesia, aboulia, anesthesia, etc.), which commonly characterize the disintegrated states making up multiple personality.’


Mid 19th century: coined from a- ‘without’ + Greek boulē ‘the will’.