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sto·​ic ˈstō-ik How to pronounce stoic (audio)
capitalized : a member of a school of philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium about 300 b.c. holding that the wise man should be free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief, and submissive to natural law
: one apparently or professedly indifferent to pleasure or pain


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sto·​ic ˈstō-ik How to pronounce stoic (audio)
variants or stoical
capitalized : of, relating to, or resembling the Stoics or their doctrines
Stoic logic
: not affected by or showing passion or feeling
especially : firmly restraining response to pain or distress
a stoic indifference to cold
stoically adverb

Did you know?

What is the origin of stoic?

Zeno of Citium, born in Cyprus in the 4th century B.C.E., traveled to Athens while a young man and studied with the important philosophers of the day, among them two influential Cynics. He eventually arrived at his own philosophy and began teaching at a public hall called the Stoa Poikile. Zeno's philosophy, Stoicism, took its name from the hall where he taught, and it preached self-control, fortitude, and justice; passion was seen as the cause of all evil. By the 14th century, English speakers had adopted the word stoic as a general term for anyone who could face adversity calmly and without excess emotion. By the 15th century, we'd also begun using it as an adjective meaning "not affected by or showing passion or feeling."

Choose the Right Synonym for stoic

impassive, stoic, phlegmatic, apathetic, stolid mean unresponsive to something that might normally excite interest or emotion.

impassive stresses the absence of any external sign of emotion in action or facial expression.

met the news with an impassive look

stoic implies an apparent indifference to pleasure or especially to pain often as a matter of principle or self-discipline.

was resolutely stoic even in adversity

phlegmatic implies a temperament or constitution hard to arouse.

a phlegmatic man unmoved by tears

apathetic may imply a puzzling or deplorable indifference or inertness.

charitable appeals met an apathetic response

stolid implies a habitual absence of interest, responsiveness, or curiosity.

stolid workers wedded to routine

Example Sentences

Noun "That would have been to dishonor him," said Carr, a notorious stoic who was nearly overcome by emotion in his postgame press conference. Instead, he told the Wolverines that the best way to honor Schembechler was "to play in a way that would have made him proud." Austin Murphy, Sports Illustrated, 27 Nov. 2006 The philosophical implications of this claim are as volcanic as the emotions it depicts, for Nussbaum here counters an age-old view espoused by Stoics, Christians and Kantians, alike: emotions are disruptive and subversive to reason, they arise from parochial needs and interests and therefore the life well lived is the life in which the things of this world are left behind for a higher sphere beyond accident, pain and desire. Wendy Steiner, New York Times Book Review, 18 Nov. 2001 Whereas Ludwig Wittgenstein once compared philosophers to garbage men sweeping the mind clean of wrongheaded concepts, Nussbaum believes they should be "lawyers for humanity"—a phrase she borrows from Seneca, her favorite Stoic thinker. Robert S. Boynton, New York Times Magazine, 21 Nov. 1999 Adjective My stoic Serbian brother-in-law, Aleksandar Vasilic, gave me the ultimate confidence booster of bawling all the way through the manuscript when I gave it to him to read. Helene Cooper, The House At Sugar Beach, (2008) 2009 Grant recorded his thought-experiment when he was an old man dying of cancer, who in spite of his pain had managed to achieve a stoical serenity. Jackson Lears, New Republic, 9 & 16 Sept. 2002 As it flew past the pole, a three-run homer, Richardson saw the stoical Berra do something he'd never seen him do. "Halfway between home and first, he was jumping up and down," Richardson recalls. "Boy, was he happy to hit that ball!" William Nack, Sports Illustrated, 23 Oct. 2000 He had a stoic expression on his face. after waiting six years for permission to immigrate to the U.S., the family is stoic about a six-month postponement See More
Recent Examples on the Web
As General of the Dora Milaje, the stoic Okoye used to be an uncompromising, ruthless warrior. Carrie Wittmer, Rolling Stone, 14 Nov. 2022 Mancini later doubled off the top of the left field wall; by staying in the yard, Odor drove in the Orioles’ second run of the game, serving as the late-game stoic for a second time to level the score. Andy Kostka, Baltimore Sun, 25 Sep. 2022 The icy relationship between the young woman and the stoic curate melts into an affectionate friendship and then, predictably, a fiery romance over the course of their French lessons. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Sep. 2022 A dozen years after the night in Southern California that altered the course of college football history, the memory that endures is not Texas quarterback Colt McCoy standing on the sideline, stoic and helpless. Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News, 6 Sep. 2022 Playing against Kaluuya’s stoic, quietly grieving O.J., Palmer evokes other ways to register grief. New York Times, 22 July 2022 As the clip begins, the camera slowly zooms out on a stoic, seemingly timid young man at the opposite end of a table. Holly Jones, Variety, 11 July 2022 In an interview less than a week after his return, Vlad adopted the same stoic, determined manner as his father. Reis Thebault, Washington Post, 16 July 2022 By investing in character development and strategy developed off the diamond, the film embraces the stoic, reserved nature of Pitt's character. Derek Scancarelli,, 7 July 2022
As Scherer read her sentencing on each one of the nearly three dozen charges, most of the victims or their family members were stoic, while some shed tears. Antonio Planas, NBC News, 2 Nov. 2022 Usually upbeat and joking to the point of silliness, Ayton was stoic and kept his answers short. Kent Somers, The Arizona Republic, 28 Sep. 2022 In court Tuesday, Brownlee, who appeared stoic and unemotional, was ordered held without bail, according to county inmate records. Dennis Romero, NBC News, 19 Oct. 2022 In the past year, then, Clarke has offered a two-part comment on the ubiquitous trope of the stoic, strong Black woman, and the ways in which her silence can curdle. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 14 Oct. 2022 Adam Ferrise reports Blessing Adeleke, 31, remained stoic with his right hand clenching his left wrist as U.S. District Judge James Gwin read the jury’s guilty verdicts on 17 charges, including conspiring to commit bank fraud and bank fraud. cleveland, 13 Oct. 2022 Pujols remained mostly stoic talking to the media for eight minutes, while Molina frequently smiled and laughed, and was much more animated than normal. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, 9 Oct. 2022 Hernández's widow was seen and heard sobbing while Lyle's face remained stoic. Charmaine Patterson, Peoplemag, 6 Oct. 2022 My colleague José Criales-Unzueta, fashion news writer at Vogue Runway, says the crowds at fashion shows—a notoriously stoic bunch—would notice perk up whenever Renaissance tracks came on at shows, particularly at LaQuan Smith. André-naquian Wheeler, Vogue, 23 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stoic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Noun and Adjective

Middle English, from Latin stoicus, from Greek stōïkos, literally, of the portico, from Stoa (Poikilē) the Painted Portico, portico at Athens where Zeno taught

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of stoic was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near stoic

Cite this Entry

“Stoic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
sto·​ic ˈstō-ik How to pronounce stoic (audio)
: one not easily excited or upset


2 of 2 adjective
variants or stoical
: unconcerned about pleasure or pain
stoically adverb

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