I have searched for the same, but I am always getting some reference which is implying that we cannot do something without feeling it. But we can.

  • 3
    I believe the word you're looking for is "detached."
    – deadrat
    Sep 25, 2015 at 3:35
  • Do what kind of tasks without being emotional about it? Are you referring to tasks which are normally done emotionally? Sep 25, 2015 at 5:22
  • 2
    In many parts of the world, we call it 'business' :P Sep 25, 2015 at 8:39
  • Note there's a difference between "being emotional" and "feeling emotion". The first is an external behavior, while the second is an internal state.
    – MichaelS
    Sep 25, 2015 at 20:58
  • @MichaelS I got u. I have edited the question accordingly. Sep 26, 2015 at 9:57

14 Answers 14


Perhaps the word you're looking for is clinical.

Clinical: Very efficient and without feeling; coldly detached

Source: Oxford Dictionaries Online (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/clinical)


If you do something without being emotional, you are doing it dispassionately.

dis·pas·sion·ate (dĭs-păsh′ə-nĭt) adj.

Not influenced by strong feelings or emotions; impartial: a dispassionate reporter.

dis·pas′sion·ate·ly adv.

dis·pas′sion·ate·ness n.

[1 http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dispassionately]


Consider mechanically.

mechanical: done as if by machine : seemingly uninfluenced by the mind or emotions : automatic

  • I think this one is better than the accepted answer. You read it and know right away that it was a calculated thing, without any feelings or emotions connected. Like a machine would do. Just calculate and execute. Sep 25, 2015 at 13:33
  • But it also has connotations of doing things without thought, through habit or muscle memory. Note how the definition includes mind in the things not influencing the action. Sep 25, 2015 at 15:20

Assuming hardship is being endured without emotional displays, stoically could be used.


Cool-headed may be used when dealing with difficult situations unemotionally.

  • marked by calm self-control (especially in trying circumstances); unemotional.

    • he handled the difficulties in a coolheaded way.


  • composed is a related word; it means having one's feelings and expression under control; calm.. Sep 25, 2015 at 5:37

You may keep your composure.

  • Composure definition: serene, self-controlled state of mind; calmness; tranquillity.

  • Example: Despite the hysteria and panic around him, he retained his composure.

or you can act in cold blood.

  • Definition: Deliberately, coldly, and dispassionately (usually applied to kill or murder). This expression alludes to the notion that blood is the seat of emotion and is hot in passion and cold in calm. The term therefore means not "in the heat of passion," but "in a calculated, deliberate manner."

Impassive or dispassionate (Impassively or dispassionately)

  • 1
    It would be helpful if you included a definition in your answer, to make it easier to judge if the word is appropriate for particular instances. Also, a previous answer already mentioned your second option. Sep 25, 2015 at 14:22

Another word that could be substituted is apathetically



When I was a kid, and became really upset regarding something about which nothing could immediately be done, and I couldn't get over it in a reasonable time, my mom would sometimes urge me to try to "be stoic" about it. I came to understand the term's meaning as: "Don't be ruled by your emotions, and certainly don't let someone/thing else be in charge of how you feel. When something makes your feelings spike, try to appear outwardly indifferent to the cause. Doing this provides a small victory in that who/whatever's responsible isn't perceived as having the power to dramatically influence your feelings. Soon, you internalize that perception, and you begin to gain the perspective necessary to regain internal balance."

Over the years as I grew up, I discovered not only that the practice of hiding painful emotions is a cultural mainstay from the German, Slavic, and Catholic aspects of my family's cultural heritage, but also that it is generally expected as a rudimentary indication of adulthood & strength (or more precisely, any display of such emotions is considered childish & "weak") for men in the United States. Modern American English tends to use the terms "stoic" and "stoicism" in this very vague, general sense; simply meaning the sublimation of apparent (i.e., external, perceived by others) and/or actual (i.e., internal, felt & experienced by oneself) of emotional response. Much later, in college, I came to understand that Stoicism is, in fact a very old, complex philosophical system which greatly influenced many other philosophical & religious traditions throughout history. Although one of my undergraduate majors was Social Philosophy, I didn't pursue Stoicism much in my classes, and wouldn't consider myself well-informed, let alone an expert. Also, of course, your question concerns neither philosophy nor current U.S. cultural norms, so please pardon my digressing somewhat.

The reason to discuss all of this, however, does relate to your actual question; searching for a word to convey emotionless activity. I believe "being stoic," "acting stoically," or perhaps even "practicing Stoicism" would all serve well for this purpose. Although someone with a certain educational background might wag their finger and point out that, as such, modern American usage doesn't convey the full extent/meaning of Stoicism, most folks wouldn't get that deep about it. :)

Another excellent (and much more impressive, IMHO) word to say what you're describing is "apatheia." Apatheia is a primary tenet of Stoicism, and refers to a state of being in which one is separated from one's emotional distress by willing its subordination to the rational part of the mind. The word comes from Greek roots "A-" (without) and "Pathos" (passion; intense -generally with a negative connotation- feeling), so one way to understand it is "without passion." Although they sound similar and have common etymology, this word is different from the English word "apathy," since being apathetic is generally considered a bad thing (you don't care about anything), whereas apatheia refers to mastering your emotional pain to achieve peace and self-control.

For those who'd like to learn more about Stoicism, or apatheia specifically, the Wikipedia entries for each (links below) are a decent starting point. The former, especially, seemed fairly sparse to me, but I really just skimmed through it. I apologize again for this being so long -sometimes I get carried away- but I hope my word suggestions were at least a little helpful.



  • 1
    While I personally appreciate the story-form that you shared your answer in, I believe it is likely going to garner downvotes for its length and for how difficult it is for a reader to find the specific points that directly answer the question. Please take a look at the other answers and rewrite your answer to be more in line with them (both length and format). The English Language & Usage site isn't really the place to share your otherwise admirable and obviously deep passion regarding your life experiences of learning to be stoic.
    – ErikE
    Sep 25, 2015 at 17:24
  • The question isn't about repressing feelings, it's about acting without emotion. Sep 25, 2015 at 18:41


(of a person) having an unemotional and stolidly calm disposition.

or just:


not having or showing strong feelings: a flat, unemotional voice.


an effective clinician must remain unemotional when the patient is most out of control


The verb execute connotes carrying out a task in an impassionate manner.

Executives are hired to run a company efficiently (which some would say requires a disconnect from emotional-based decision making).

Computers execute commands, and are, as of this writing, incapable of emotions.

Obligatory Definition Follows:

Execute v. 1. carry out or put into effect (a plan, order, or course of action).

(from Google)


Perhaps absent-minded is what you are looking for? It takes the meaning of inattentive, with the additional meaning of forgetful.

From here:

Definition of absent-minded in English: adjective

Having or showing a forgetful or inattentive disposition: an absent-minded smile

I have even heard a piano solo being described as "absent-minded".

  • Hey, are you sure you wrote this as an answer to this question?
    – Tragicomic
    Sep 25, 2015 at 16:16
  • @Tragicomic Mm? ;-)
    – Jos
    Sep 25, 2015 at 16:27

Perhaps Pragmatic?

dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations: a pragmatic approach to politics.

  • Thanks for your answer. Do make sure to give a citation for which dictionary you've used.
    – Silverfish
    Sep 25, 2015 at 20:18

Depending on context, you might want to say you did something with equanimity or with aplomb.

Merriam-Webster – equanimity – calm emotions when dealing with problems or pressure; evenness of mind especially under stress

Merriam-Webster – aplomb – complete and confident composure or self-assurance : poise

These may not be the exact meanings you had in mind, but they are both excellent words for certain kinds of "not being emotional."

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