I'm looking for a word that describes knowing something, but not acting on it. For example:

I know eating healthy food is good for me, but I don't do it. I'm guilty of ____________.

  • 1
    Closest word I can think of is repression
    – user190075
    Aug 10, 2016 at 3:39
  • 1
    It might depend on why you don't do it. Can you elaborate?
    – Lawrence
    Aug 10, 2016 at 11:02
  • 1
    You are guilty of talking the talk but not walking the walk.
    – Drew
    Aug 10, 2016 at 15:03

4 Answers 4


I'd suggest inaction

Inaction [MASS NOUN] Lack of action where some is expected or appropriate (ODO)

It's simple and it implies that you should do something, i.e. eat the damn vegetables.


This may be a case of procrastination.

(Your example implies that you are somehow regretting that you are not able to put your knowledge into action; in that sense you may be indefinitely delaying it).

From oxforddictionaries.com:



The action of delaying or postponing something: your first tip is to avoid procrastination

Indecision and inaction can lead to bigger problems in business so avoid procrastination and delay.

As if this delay was not enough it was further compounded by procrastination in implementing the action recommended.

Maybe it'll help a few aspiring writers realize they're not alone in their procrastinations.


dithering, delaying tactics, dilatoriness, stalling, temporizing, hesitation, vacillation;

British humming and hawing; informal dilly-dallying, shilly-shallying

US informal kicking the can down the road

  • He asked for a word. All answers look off the mark, unfortunately. Tough one.
    – Abhilaaj
    Aug 10, 2016 at 7:56
  • Yes, I gave a word - procrastination. In case that was not so clear, I have edited my answer to make the word more explicit. Aug 10, 2016 at 8:25
  • You are very near, but yet a wee bit far. It's like describing a tobacco or drug-addicted Dr. He knows too well, still, doesn't use his knowledge for his own benefit.
    – Abhilaaj
    Aug 10, 2016 at 12:39

I would go with apathy.

Merriam-Webster states:

Simple Definition of APATHY
: the feeling of not having much emotion or interest : an apathetic state

Alternatively, indifference would also work.

Merriam-Webster again:

Simple Definition of INDIFFERENCE
: lack of interest in or concern about something : an indifferent attitude or feeling http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/indifference


I think you might be looking for 'cognitive dissonance'.

  • 1
    Please add some explanation.
    – NVZ
    Jun 27, 2017 at 8:07

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