107

Thinking that every thing that you can like and dislike, you can also not care about and there may be a suffix for it.

  • 23
    Using "a-" or "an-" as a prefix (e.g., amoral, asexual) indicates an absence (of morals, sexuality, etc.) Perhaps something like that? – Mike Harris May 20 '16 at 14:04
  • 10
    Why are you searching for a suffix for which there are many prefixes for? – Mazura May 20 '16 at 19:14
  • 5
    Many activists use the phobia to describe indifference or just mild dislike, because they think whoever is not strongly supporting their cause must be supporting the enemy. Of course, this doesn't mean we should adopt this (mis)usage of the word phobia. – vsz May 20 '16 at 20:15
  • 3
    Apathy to the status quo is de facto support for it. – Nij May 21 '16 at 1:28
  • 10
    You could try -agnostic. It's used a bit in computing. – user207421 May 24 '16 at 1:18

11 Answers 11

155

As far as I know, no. We could make one up, here. "-phile" and "-phobe" are derived from the greek words "philia" (love) and "phobos" (fear), so we'd want to look for an greek word meaning "indifference", I think.

"adiaphoria" looks like an early contender, being what Google translate comes back with for "indifference". There is already a philosophical concept "adiaphora" (note no 'i' at the end) meaning "indifferent things", referring to (my summary) things which are neither moral nor immoral. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adiaphora

This isn't quite what we're after, and it's a bit long, anyway - it would be nice to be able to have a single-syllable suffix like "phile" or "phobe".

"neutral" gives "oudéteros", which again is a bit long.

Perhaps we could use "mesis" which means "middle" - so you could have the adjective suffix "-mesic" like "phobic", and the noun suffix "-meso" like "phobe".

Eg, an "audiomeso" is someone who neither hates nor loves music, and if you genuinely didn't give a sh*t about whether someone is gay, you could call yourself "homomesic".

EDIT: @Nathaniel, in the comments, pointed out that the noun form suffix should be "-mese", not "-meso", so "audiomese" or "homomese". This feels right to me and I thank him for it.

  • 64
    Done deal. This is now officially part of English. Thank you. – Mr. TA May 20 '16 at 15:23
  • 27
    I'll wait till it's in the dictionary before I order my "Neologist" badge :) – Max Williams May 20 '16 at 15:38
  • 6
    I think I prefer the sound of audiomesiac. – Lynn May 20 '16 at 21:45
  • 7
    "meso" does not work as a noun suffix. we don't use "phobo" or "philo" as suffixes, only as prefixes. – sumelic May 21 '16 at 1:25
  • 27
    @sumelic by analogy to those two examples (phobo -> phobe; philo -> phile), the suffix should be mese, as in "audiomese". – Nathaniel May 21 '16 at 5:23
192

I am not aware of a suffix per se with that meaning, but I sometimes see the idea expressed by forming a pairing with the word agnostic. Although the first meaning of this word is specifically about religious belief, it can also be used in a more general sense:

  1. a person who is unwilling to commit to an opinion about something

(Merriam-Webster)

Though M-W does not document it, other sources indicate that the word can also be used as an adjective to describe a person who holds the (non-)beliefs of an agnostic on a particular subject.

Thus, you might say "Chrome and Internet Explorer both have strong partisans, but I am browser-agnostic."

  • 25
    I think this is better than mine, although it's more fun to try to invent your own word :) – Max Williams May 20 '16 at 14:19
  • 13
    @MaxWilliams, of course inventing is more fun, but here on Stack Exchange, we hate fun :-). On a more serious note, if the objective is to communicate the idea effectively then inventing a new suffix by drawing on Greek is unlikely to be a good approach. – PellMel May 20 '16 at 15:54
  • 10
    To my ear (and based on the etymology), agnostic refers more to lack of knowledge rather than lack of concern. An agnostic may vehemently insist that he cannot know whether or not God exists, but it might still be the very focus of his life. – Lee Daniel Crocker May 20 '16 at 17:35
  • 12
    @LeeDanielCrocker The answer is correct. While, in the context of religious beliefs, the word means what you say, "x-agnostic" is a perfectly idiomatic way to say "doesn't care about x" or "isn't affected by x." I can speak from personal experience in saying that this usage is especially common in software design where we say "y is x-agnostic" to mean that x has been sufficiently abstracted that y doesn't have to know or care which exact implementation of x is in use. For example, a DirectX program can be agnostic of which video card is present, as long as it's one that support DirectX. – reirab May 20 '16 at 19:26
  • 5
    @MaxWilliams, we at StackExchange do not have a sense of humour we are aware of. – Jon Story May 23 '16 at 12:04
89

I propose '-meh'

  • Arachnophobe

  • Arachnophile

  • Arachnomeh

In the right tone of voice, I think that could work.

Meh, Wikipedia

Meh is an interjection used as an expression of indifference or boredom. It may also mean "be it as it may". It is often regarded as a verbal shrug of the shoulders

  • 5
    This is good, I still prefer the Greek-derived version, though. – Mr. TA May 22 '16 at 11:03
  • 1
    Admitting neologisms, that would be OK for me : simple and efficient. Though, building words upon "roots" is quite efficient for anybody trying to understand an unknown word. – Benj May 23 '16 at 7:14
  • 8
    This also would not require the extended explanations to our wordomeh friends. – TimH May 23 '16 at 23:45
  • 2
    Arachno-meh and arachnomese are a bit similar, I guess the true answer lies somewhere in between. – Alexander May 25 '16 at 13:07
  • 1
    @Alexander "Arachno-mehs"? As a bonus it could be a homonym depending on how you pronounce it. – MarioDS May 26 '16 at 9:06
35

It seems you are looking for a concise, easily understandable term for someone who is neither a -phile nor a -phobe. I would suggest the suffix -neutral. It may be more of an adjective than a noun, but it can be pressed into service as a noun by ellipsis. Thus:

Which of the following describes you best?

I am a technophile

I am a technophobe

I am techno-neutral

90% of the technophiles, 50% of the techno-neutrals* and 10% of the technophobes said they had heard of the product.

(* where techno-neutrals is an ellipsis for techno-neutral respondents to the survey.)

  • 3
    Thanks for the answer. I think using a Greek-derived suffix is more stylistically appropriate, by maintaining consistency with "phobe" and "phile". Also, using "neutral" requires a dash, whereas taking a foreign word and turning it into a new suffix doesn't. – Mr. TA May 21 '16 at 1:20
  • 2
    I am technomesic or I am a technomese definitely sounds way geeky and very, very high-brow — definitely much cooler than I am techno-neutral, that's for sure! :-) – Gwyneth Llewelyn May 21 '16 at 12:18
  • 4
    @GwynethLlewelyn It suffers from not being immediately understandable, however, which makes it rather poseurish. – Level River St May 21 '16 at 16:28
  • 1
    This was the first thing I thought of and seems superior to the other answers. @Mr.TA you asked whether there was a suffix. This is a suffix. and it did already exist. You didn't ask someone to make you a new one out of thin air, future tense, with a totally arbitrary etymological basis. What's wrong with hyphens, anyway? – underscore_d May 22 '16 at 11:35
  • @GwynethLlewelyn Sounding geeky and high-brow are not a measure of utility, if that's what you mean. Real-world efficacy goes right down. People won't know what you're on about. You'd just be forming a dialect based on opacity and elitism, not likely to achieve anything that's practically useful. – underscore_d May 22 '16 at 11:37
17

If an english suffix would fit, I would suggest -indifferent as in:

  • techno-indifferent,
  • arachno-indifferent,
  • agora-indifferent,
  • homo-indifferent…
6

Not the best choice suggested here, but one might use -**ambivalent**:

▸adjective: feeling two different things about someone or something at the same time, for example that you like them and dislike them

▸ adjective: uncertain or unable to decide about what course to follow ("Was ambivalent about having children")

▸ adjective: characterized by a mixture of opposite feelings or attitudes ("She felt ambivalent about his proposal")

Example usage:

  • "I'm cinephilic, Sinophobic, and cyno-ambivalent"
  • 1
    Ambivalent is a good alternative to phobe and phile, and it would be a meaningful and recognizable suffix. Though it doesn't mean you don't care. – Bob Stein May 26 '16 at 15:09
  • @BobStein-VisiBone Indeed. Although it may have picked up some of that meaning today. – SAH May 26 '16 at 17:52
2

I'd also propose -apathetic

Apathetic (adj): Showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern

Apathy derives from French apathie, via Latin from Greek apatheia, from apathēs without feeling, from a- without + pathos suffering.

Example usage:

  • Ailurophilic Loves Cats
  • Ailuroapathetic Is unconcerned about or indifferent to cats
  • 1
    Good job, this is the word I was wracking my brain for. – Bob Stein May 26 '16 at 14:58
  • Why not apath then as the opposite of path as in psychopath? – dan May 26 '16 at 18:14
  • @danielAzuelos like my answer? :-) – Bob Stein May 26 '16 at 19:31
2

-apathic

A slightly lighter-weight version of @EricKigathi's -apathetic.

-pathic, suffix meaning affected byThe Free Dictionary (citing Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 2009(

apathic, without sensation or feeling. —The Free Dictionary (citing Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary, 2007)

apathic, synonym of apathetic —Wiktionary

Despite the frequent concurrence of don't know and don't care, they mean different things. @PellMel's browser-agnostic is a good term for code that doesn't know what browser it's running on (and doesn't need to know, because it's compatible with all of them). But the OP question contrasts -phobe and -phile so this is about feeling. Browser-apathic code was written by someone who didn't care which browser they were trying it on (so it may only work on one of them).

Technology:

  • techno-phobic - hates technology, averse to using it
  • techno-philic - loves technology, early adopter of gadgets
  • techno-agnostic - ignorant of technology, doesn't know how to use it
  • techno-apathic - apathetic about technology, as likely to choose a nontechnical solution

Spiders:

  • arachno-philic - fascinated by spiders
  • arachno-phobic - afraid of spiders
  • arachno-agnostic - ignorant about spiders, but might want to learn
  • arachno-apathic - apathetic about spiders, neither jumps at them nor checks which species

@MaxWilliams' -mesic may be useful if you wanted a term that was ambiguous about knowing or caring. Is there a case where that's better than being specific? Haven't thought of one yet.

I'm doubtful there exists one clear middle ground between love and hate. @SAH's -ambivalent is a third. Maybe there are others, and they shouldn't be muddled.

@user1892306's -meh is exquisitely precise in meaning but it doesn't look like a suffix; turning it into one loses recognition even from those familiar with this neologism.

  • I think your “-agnostic” definitions are a bit off. “Agnostic” really does mean indifferent, not ignorant, resistant, or indecisive. An example: One term that's used to describe oneself by software developers is “language-agnostic”, which means that they don't play favorites with any given programming language; instead they focus on how to build things with the underlying CS concepts and just use the language that is best for the specific problem, or best matches what a company's already using. – Slipp D. Thompson May 27 '16 at 5:47
  • Ambivalent means having two opinions at the same time, e.g. unsure which is correct. Arachno-ambivalent, not sure whether you like them or hate them - on the on hand they catch flies, on the other.... – Ben May 27 '16 at 11:00
2

It is not worth it using a short suffix that is semantically only close to what you are trying to express, for a concept used that rarely.

You could invent a new suffix that describes by definition exactly what you want to say, otherwise the usage of extra syllables should be preferred over losing part of the meaning.

Indifference is oftentimes used as the default condition, a placeholder, and it isn't univocal, as opposed to like and dislike.

When you are indifferent it can mean that you haven't thought of the matter before, and thus you haven't made up your mind yet [Case 1]. Or it can mean that you have thought of it and you really are indifferent [Case 2].

This ambiguity increases the complexity of inventing such a suffix.

To illustrate the above, let's suppose that there exist arachnids, and people can either be averse or fond of them. What a person feels towards arachnids can be thought of as a variable that can have one of the following values: 'like', 'dislike', 'indifferent', which describe fondness, aversion or indifference towards arachnids. The value indifference is the indifference we described in Case 2. The variable however can also have no value (this is exactly how 0 works in numbers -it's a placeholder). This "no value" is the indifference described in Case 1.

In programming we do:

if the value of arachnid_variable is 'like'
    Then the_person likes arachnids
else if the value of arachnid_variable is 'dislike'
    Then the_person dislikes arachnids
else if the value of arachnid_variable is 'indifferent'
    Then the_person gives 0 fucks about arachnids
else
    the_person is indifferent towards arachnids because he is not even aware of their existence, or because he has never thought to form an opinion about them

A suffix like -phile or -phobe for indifference would have purpose only in Case 2, when you want to make the statement that you have considered the 'like' and 'dislike' options, and you have opted for indifference. In contexts where indifference is the default condition (i.e. the "no value" we described above), it should not be stated, and thus such a suffix would be unusable.

As it's very well stated in the accepted answer (by Max Williams), adiaphoria (= indifference) is indeed the concept between -phile and -phobe (even though it is said that the opposite of love is indifference and not hate ^^).

In Greek, adiaphoria eventually boils down to "the act of making no distinction/ differentiation" (probably pretty close to 'indifference'). So, if you want to invent a new suffix derived from greek "-mesis" and "-oudeteros" (concepts of in the middle and neutral) are not correct. "-adiaphoric" could work ("adiaphoro" with the Greek suffix), but I would prefer the English suffix -indifferent, as proposed by daniel Azuelos, which is simple and precise.

0

The suffix "-path" (as in apathy) may have this meaning, but I can't think of any other examples right now besides "sociopath" (one who doesn't care about society), and possibly also "psychopath". Clearly, the suffix can also have other meanings, as in "homoeopath" and "naturopath", but in some cases, I think it may have the meaning you're looking for.

  • 1
    According to Michael Quinion, Ologies and Isms: Word Beginnings and Endings (2002), -path typically refers to a practitioner (of some treatment) or to a sufferer (of a condition). The -pathy in words like apathy and sympathy comes from the Greek word for "feeling" and the a- in apathy is the alpha privative (or negative), as in "not feeling." – Sven Yargs May 26 '16 at 17:45
-6

"Don't care" means one has no heart for something, it is not usually synonymous with "unfamiliar" or "innocent". It connotes veiled disdain for a given topic, making -nostic & -neutral & -middle (Gr. -meso) too gentle, and -phobic insincere.

The prefix "anti-" seems more correct than any available suffix. The most appropriate term in Greek: "ekhthros", (personal enemy), is unsuitable for an English suffix. ("Techno-ekthros?")

There's also '-clast' (Gr. -klastes, a breaker or wrecker), the sole English word being iconoclast, used to describe certain Christian zealots that vandalized or defaced sculpture and art which they believed promoted idolatry and false gods; later iconoclast mellows and signifies nonconformists and radicals who break with tradition, yet need not break physical objects.

  • 1
    I think you're missing the point of the question. There's a big difference between "not caring for something", and "not caring either way." – Level River St May 21 '16 at 16:31
  • @LevelRiverSt, I'd grant a small difference, but only that much -- "not care", "don't care", etc., care is a strong word, negating it is forceful too. If not for that strength, these should be virtually equivalent: 1) 'I'm OK either way' 2) 'I don't mind either way' 3) 'I don't care either way'. – agc May 22 '16 at 0:34
  • 1
    @agc I strongly disagree that the result of negating a strong word is also strong. Negating the above: I do not strongly disagree that ... I thing this goes to show my point. – Alexandre Cassagne May 22 '16 at 1:29
  • @AlexandreCassagne, that point is quite correct, but it seems to be based on an incorrect presumption that a generality had been asserted. Don't care is merely a peculiar instance of strong negation. More instances: warmthless, heartless, loveless, soulless, etc. – agc May 22 '16 at 2:23
  • 1
    @AlexandreCassagne Indeed. Compare Have to / Don´t have to vs Must / Mustn't – Level River St May 22 '16 at 2:58

protected by user140086 May 27 '16 at 18:17

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.