Looking for a one-syllable opposite of "care". For the purpose of the question, let's assume "care" to mean "be interested in or concerned about" and ignore the definition of "to render aid".

Example sentence (note: this is not a good sentence; please don't suggest words that fit this sentence but are not opposites of the definition above. The actual usage is in a poem I'm not confortable with sharing):

Sorry to ____ too much

  • 3
    Perhaps neglect or ignore, but you'd need to rephrase your example sentence.
    – Anonym
    Oct 18, 2016 at 2:57
  • to null is to cancel out
    – user662852
    Oct 18, 2016 at 3:01
  • 1
    Perhaps it's too strong, but what about hate? Oct 18, 2016 at 6:21
  • 2
    Can you provide a description of the antonym you're looking for? For instance, are you looking for something meaning apathy (don't care either way) or hate (antithesis of care)?
    – Lawrence
    Oct 18, 2016 at 6:38
  • 1
    Sorry to "meh" so much.
    – Sven Yargs
    Oct 18, 2016 at 18:21

7 Answers 7

  • "diss" is a truncation of dismiss and means to reject or belittle. Not a perfect antonym but reasonably close.

  • "hate" is also stronger than merely "not caring", but is one syllable and an opposite of fondness.

  • "bore" as a verbal form of "boring" is just about right but seems to run in the wrong direction.

  • "doze" is suggestive of the attitude of someone who doesn't care, and "sorry to doze too much" conveys the idea of inattention fairly well.

  • "dream" can play similarly to "doze" but with more baggage of a variety of senses of the word.

  • "scorn" is probably the most direct antonym and is even listed as an antonym of "care" in some references.

  • 2
    "scorn" is the best so far Oct 18, 2016 at 7:32
  • "scorn" is more about having contempt for someone/something: to look down on them. It doesn't quite capture the idea of disinterest or apathy. Oct 18, 2016 at 14:29
  • Isn't "diss" usually a truncation of "disrespect"?
    – J W
    Oct 18, 2016 at 18:05

I can't track down a one-syllable word, but there is a (three-syllable) word for this that has been coined (and defined in Urban Dictionary) but not widely used: apathize. Though it's not common, the meaning is easily grasped through analogy with apathy, and since it's intended for use in a poem perhaps it won't matter that it's not a "mainstream" word.

A (rare) example of it in the wild:

On the wall, certificates and plaques offered vain praise. More fitting, Turney thought, was the Weekend Warrior poster that fellow officers had given him on his last birthday. The Warrior cradled a bag of chips and a six-pack, a fishing pole and net, and boasted a cartoon belly that distended an old wrinkled T-shirt. His eyes were apathetic.

Turney related. In this job he tried to sympathize. Tried to care. "The job's a struggle for me," he'd told his minister. "Sometimes it's easier to just apathize."

"Apathize? Is that a word?"

"It is now."

[Source: Dark to Mortal Eyes by Eric Wilson (2004)]

So, within your example sentence:

Sorry to apathize too much.

  • It's easier to grasp if you think in terms of apathy. Oct 18, 2016 at 23:00
  • Good. +1 for that. Oct 18, 2016 at 23:15

Since you are looking for a single syllable word to fit into your poem which you aren't comfortable with sharing, may I suggest the interjection 'meh', which is used to express indifference. Poetically, you could say something like 'Sorry I was meh' even though this is not normally used. It gives the idea that you don't care about something in the sense you described. Alternatively, consider using the verb 'slack', as in 'Sorry I slacked'.


In the strictest sense I don't think such a word exists. There are merely verbs that are contradictory but not contrary unless they are abstract actions that apply to truth values (agree and disagree). Sit may be contradictory to run but it is not contrary in your sense. There is no dis-run.

There could always be that you've decided to not care and thus override some internal care. In which case ignore, dissociate, disregard, or neglect would be appropriate. The only word I can think of is chill which is of course colloquial.

I'm not too fussed though. Sorry to chill too much


If you accept a "modern" tone in your poem, would you care for text or internet acronyms/abbreviations? As others, I did not find pure one-syllable words. However, "DC" or "d-c" are standard shorts for "Don't Care" (I could not find any shorter). Two syllables of course, but playing with poetry rules, that could fit. IDC stands for "I Don't Care" (three syllables).

But wait! There is a rare occurrence of a one-syllable version, even stronger: DEC, for "Don't even care" (UD).

How would Nina Simone's My Baby Just Cares For Me sound then?

Baby, my baby DC for shows

And he DEC for clothes

Artistic license DC for standards. At all.


Given the lack of direct antonyms, you may need to widen your search into the realm of the figurative.

For example, when a person cares about someone, they are often said to be soft on them. Conversely, uncaring, indifferent people are said to be hard. As such, synonyms for harden work as antonyms for care. Here's an example:

  1. Sorry to firm too much.

Similarly, uncaring people are often characterized as cold. Thus, synonyms for cold or becoming cold can be used as antonyms for care.

If we combine the harden metaphor with the cold metaphor, we might arrive at:

  1. Sorry to freeze too much.

Lastly, caring people are often characterized as open. As such, antonyms of open might be considered synonyms of uncaring. Here's an example:

  1. Sorry that I close too soon.

Given that your context is a poem, the open-ended suggestiveness of such metaphors might be desirable. That said, it is hard to hear your desired reading in these metaphorical lines. But maybe a poetic context could push them in that direction.

Or you can recognize that the metrical problem you've found yourself with is more trouble than it's worth. Maybe cut your losses and rephrase the lines.

  • 1
    I'm sorry, but none of these feel at all idiomatic to me. I don't think I would understand any of these to mean what you are intending. Firm rarely works well as a verb in the way you're suggesting, though restructuring the sentence to be something like "Sorry that I am too hard" could potentially work (and could be used in contrast to "Sorry that I am too soft"). "Sorry to freeze too much" just sounds like they are frequently cold, or maybe that they are overly obsessed with freezing food. "Sorry that I close too soon" sounds like an apology from a store owner
    – Kevin
    Oct 18, 2016 at 17:20
  • @KevinWells, you're absolutely right on all fronts. But given that the OP's context is a poem, the ambiguity and suggestiveness of these lines can possibly be parlayed into a virtue. It's a long shot, though. I think the best bet is to rephrase the lines of the poem so that a one word antonym for care is NOT needed.
    – DyingIsFun
    Oct 18, 2016 at 17:30
  • 1
    Yeah, I don't mean that this answer is wrong, but I felt it was worth warning the OP that these may not be readily understood by his readers
    – Kevin
    Oct 18, 2016 at 17:32

"Spurn" has the force of scorn but connotes rejection also, the opposite of care.

  • Welcome to EL&U! We strive to provide objective and well-researched answers. As the label says, one-liners are likely to be deleted as they show a lack of research. If you expand and provide evidence, this could become a great answer! Take the Tour and see How to Answer for more. Oct 18, 2016 at 16:43

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