I am looking for a word that explains the state of mind where one is neither happy nor sad about something, i.e., being unbiased in one's feeling towards something or even-minded about something. Something like 'indifferent' or 'impassive' but sans the negative connotation. I was considering equanimous, but I guess that word mostly means stable minded in face of adversities, and it's a character trait rather than a one-time response to something. Eg:
I am neither sad nor happy about his departure. Update: Based on the comment below I wish to add to the question a little. The meaning I wish to convey is the subject in question bears little significance to me and hence I am of an even temperament towards it.

  • 2
    indifference does not necessarily have a negative connotation. However, the reason(s) why you are 'neither sad nor happy' about something determines what expression to use. The question is thus both incomplete and open-ended.
    – Kris
    Feb 7, 2014 at 8:24
  • "I am dispassionate ...", "I have no feelings either way ...", or, as suggested, "I am indifferent ..." Jun 23, 2020 at 10:21

11 Answers 11


I think the word you are looking for is disinterested. It's meaning is, of course, quite different to uninterested.

When Chelsea play Arsenal I shall be disinterested in the result, as I do not support either team. I shall, however, watch the match with great interest on Match of the Day.

This curious situation arises because the word interest has two quite different meanings. I am disinterested as to the price of Rolls Royce shares (because I don't have any), but I am interested as to how they are performing, simply because I am fascinated by economic news.

The whole question of the public interest has been a topic of recent debate in the UK, concerning tabloid journalism. Newspapers, such as the now defunct News of the World, regularly publish sensational stories on their front pages about the love lives of celebrities. Often this involves their journalists invading people's privacy in the most underhanded way e.g by tapping their mobile phones. There is no public interest involved in people knowing these things, say many. The stories are nonetheless of great interest to the public' who buy the newspapers.

Many people in France argue that there is no public interest at stake, regardless of whether President Francois Hollande is having an affair. But the story is certainly interesting the public.

  • I was especially looking for a word that incorporates the aspect of balance between the two polar ends. My attitude may not be one of disinterest but the feeling the 'subject' has produced in me is neither ecstasy nor sorrow. I think I should have been more clear in my asking. But I think disinterested could serve me as an answer for my situation though not an exact one.
    – Arun
    Feb 8, 2014 at 9:49
  • Perhaps 'neutrality'.
    – WS2
    Feb 8, 2014 at 9:58

The first word that came to mind was stoic:

He received the bad news stoically.

But the reference to stoicism might be a bit too heavy, depending on the situation. Also, it does seem to be a character trait again.

Another way to react to a situation or piece of news without (much) emotion could be impartial, or maybe simply neutral.

Maybe you can also say you are untouched by his departure, or

His departure leaves me cold.

(Agreed, that last option is not one word.)

  • -1. This does not seem to me to relate at all to what is being asked. 'Stoic'in any case is a noun. 'Stoical', according to my dictionary means 'enduring pain and hardship without showing one's feelings or complaining'. What does that have to do with not feeling one way or the other about something?
    – WS2
    Feb 7, 2014 at 11:36
  • I agree that stoical would refer to no feelings in the face of hardship, which is why I offered alternatives as well. A real stoic will not only not show any feelings, but actually strife to not having them. This does apply to positive feelings as well, but I agree that over time the focus shifted to enduring negative things mostly. At the same time, I would describe any lukewarm reaction to say, winning some millions, as stoical.
    – oerkelens
    Feb 7, 2014 at 11:49
  • 1
    On a side note: at least according to Wiktionary (see my link), stoic can also be used as an adjective.
    – oerkelens
    Feb 7, 2014 at 11:53
  • I agree stoic can be used as an adjective, but personally I wouldn't. As regards you main point, I hear what you say, but I don't think this is what is being asked for. 'Stoicism' involves an element of self-discipline to accept something you don't want. The OP is looking for a word which indicates 'even-mindedness'. I have suggested 'disinterested' in my answer.
    – WS2
    Feb 7, 2014 at 12:09

you could use

  • unemotionally

  • indifferently

  • in a detached way

  • stoically


How about apathetic, or apathy? NOAD defines it as:

lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern

An example using the adverb derivative:

The poster responded apathetically to the comments made about his suggestion.

  • This would be a better answer if you would paste a dictionary definition, or a usage from literature, instead of just asking a question in order to fill up the requisite number of characters.
    – J.R.
    Feb 7, 2014 at 13:34
  • 'Apathy' also seems to me to imply something beyond being just 'disinterested'. It conveys to me a notion of mental laziness, almost as though one ought to have an opinion but can't be bothered to think. I believe 'disinterested' expresses simply an unbiased and neutral point of view, not occasioned by any unwillingness to consider the pro's and cons.
    – WS2
    Feb 8, 2014 at 9:50

"Something like 'indifferent' or 'impassive' but sans the negative connotation"?


It doesn't really match the example about "neither sad nor happy about his departure" but it's a nice word that describes a positively passive state of mind. "I thought his departure would have some impact on me, one way or another, but I took it very serenely."


He accecpted the invitation half heartedly.

  • I think you misread my question. I am not hesitant about how I feel, I just have no feeling one way or other.
    – Arun
    Feb 8, 2014 at 9:39
  • @Karnn- heedless?
    – Sandeep D
    Feb 8, 2014 at 14:45

How about the word "unperturbed"? It means it didn't bother or affect you a bit.

  • Good word. But it suggests I could likely be perturbed.
    – Arun
    Feb 8, 2014 at 9:41
  • How about pococurante? Or nonchalant?
    – Louel
    Feb 8, 2014 at 9:44
  • "Insouciant" could also work.
    – Louel
    Feb 8, 2014 at 9:56

Adiaphorous morally neutral or indifferent

Insouciance the quality of being insouciant; lack of care or concern; indifference


Detached — exhibiting an aloof objectivity, usu. free from prejudice or self-interest.


Apathy would be the best answer as it conveys neutrality of the matter, neither happy nor sad and means not to feel anything about e.g an idea or a thing.


I think the word you are looking for is apathetic.

  • 3
    Welcome to ELU. This answer has already been given, and new answers should add something new. To help avoid having your answer deleted, please explain why you think this is a good choice. You'll have to put some work into the answer.
    – tchrist
    Oct 14, 2015 at 11:16

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