Definition of stoic in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈstōik/


1A person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining.
Example sentences
  • The modest, by contrast, realise that, in the sum of history and geography, they're but a tiny, passing crater, and the stoics know that human pain has to be suffered and can't just be railed against.
  • We see livestock dotting the hillsides as we climb and I wonder what sort of doughty stoics would choose to farm such challenging country.
  • And it varies hugely and nearly everybody asks that question largely because they're embarrassed, they know about heroes and stoics who can put up with the most awful injuries and not make any complaints.
2 (Stoic) A member of the ancient philosophical school of Stoicism.
Example sentences
  • One school of ancient philosophers, the Stoics, developed a distinctive view of Medea as part of their ethics and psychology.
  • The ancient Stoics seem to have taken a similar line.
  • The ancient Greek Stoics seem to me to have done better with these distinctions than the Epicureans, on whom I focus in this paper.


1 another term for stoical.
Example sentences
  • His mood seems to have been one of stoic resignation, rather than despair, as reported by James Sharp, a leading Scots Presbyterian.
  • I cannot say these things matter-of-factly: they are too painful, and I have never been stoic.
  • All the handmaidens cheered, but the Lady stood to the back of them, her face stoic.
2 (Stoic) Of or belonging to the Stoics or their school of philosophy.
Example sentences
  • I found the juxtaposition naive, given my background in Stoic philosophy of managing the passions in public life.
  • In general, the prominent characteristic of Stoic philosophy is moral heroism, often verging on asceticism.
  • So well-versed was he in the works of the Stoics that he went on to teach Stoic philosophy as a fellow of The Hoover Institution.


Late Middle English: via Latin from Greek stōïkos, from stoa (with reference to Zeno's teaching in the Stoa Poikilē or Painted Porch, at Athens).

  • Today a child who falls over but does not cry might be described as stoic—a long way from the original Stoics (3rd century bc) of ancient Athens. They were the followers of a school of philosophy which taught that wise men should live in harmony with Fate or Providence, and be indifferent to the ups and downs of life and to pleasure and pain. From there stoic or stoical came to mean ‘enduring pain and hardship without complaint’. The word is from the Stoa Poikilē, or ‘Painted Porch’, where the school's founder, Zeno, taught. See also cynic, epicure

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sto·ic

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