Definition of cacoethes in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌkakəˈwēT͟Hēz/


[in singular] rare
An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable.
Example sentences
  • The serial killer was unable to control his desire to maim; he had a cacoethes for hurting innocent people.
  • And, it does so without engaging in sophistry, for the true horror writer is consumed by a cacoethes to engage his moral imagination, to reveal a sliver of the transcendent.
  • We began as two guys with a cacoethes for creating simple, effective and sustainable solutions that will help to save environment, people and business.


Mid 16th century: via Latin from Greek kakoēthes 'ill-disposed', from kakos 'bad' + ēthos 'disposition'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cac·o·e·thes

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