Definition of acedia in English:



  • Spiritual or mental sloth; apathy.

    • ‘If McKibben highlights pride and avarice, R. R. Reno contends that the most corrosive vice of our age is sloth, spiritual apathy, what the monks called ‘the noonday devil’ of acedia.’
    • ‘R. R. Reno's connection of an overblown fear of suffering with acedia or spiritual apathy in ‘Fighting the Noonday Devil’ (August / September) gave me an ‘aha!’’
    • ‘The Roman Catholic Church, which, like Nietzsche, knows something about conviction, has a name for this apathy: acedia, which is laziness of spirit, idleness of soul.’
    • ‘Faced with this situation, Smithson felt that the task of the artist was to cultivate a thoroughgoing acedia: ‘The artist should be an actor who refuses to act’ and ‘Immobility and inertia are what many of the most gifted artists prefer.’’
    • ‘Few of us who read habitually ever feel called upon to defend the practice-a kind of reader's acedia, an occupational hazard.’
    • ‘Medieval English writers often speak of acedia as wanhope, a waning of confidence in the efficacy and importance of prayer.’
    • ‘I would, however, still be feeling something - melancholia or acedia, ennui, despair, nameless dread or another such psychic state historically lacking effective treatment.’
    • ‘Raposa takes the possibility of voluntary consent to acedia seriously, but he is more particularly concerned with boredom as a significant but ambiguous fact of the spiritual life.’
    • ‘Stephens's various descriptions of indigenous acedia do indeed suggest that the people of Central America and Yucatan inhabit a different sort of time: lazy, circular, and stagnant.’
    • ‘The distraction is rooted in acedia, the ancient soul-scourge about which the church fathers knew and wrote so much.’


Early 17th century: late Latin, from Greek akēdia listlessness from a- without + kēdos care.