Sociopath – what does it mean? Definition, etymology & examples

With the rising awareness of mental illnesses, we see words connected to psychological disorders more and more often. Have you ever wondered what defines a sociopath? Keep reading to find out.

Sociopath what does it mean definition examples in sentences collocations synonyms

Sociopath – definition of the word

A sociopath is someone who acts in a way that is not accepted by society and has no respect for social norms. The word can be used colloquially to describe a person’s general anti-social behaviour, personality or tendencies, but it was first popularized in connection to the medical diagnosis of sociopathy, which is a clinical personality disorder.

The origins and synonyms of sociopath

The word for this psychological condition was modelled after the name of a related diagnosis of psychopathy and the person who suffers from it, a psychopath. Although the two terms are similar and sometimes used as synonyms in everyday language, there are some significant differences between the two conditions.

Remember that many synonyms you may find for people with mental illness that don’t refer to specific and neutral medical terms like the ones above can often be seen as inappropriate or offensive. Now that you know what its means and where it came from, let’s look at how this word can be used in a sentence.

Examples of sociopath in sentences

It wasn’t until I began my research in graduate school that I learned sociopaths exist along a wide spectrum, like many people with psychiatric disorders.

New York Times, Oct 16, 2020

“Now that I am famous, I feel responsible to speak about how we can’t give the big-business sociopaths, who pray to the money gods, power. We can’t just be mindless consumers.”

The New Yorker, Oct 19, 2018

It’s because he says it so often, like the sociopath who says “I’m not very nice, and you should take my poor manners as a signal of my superior intelligence.”

The Guardian, Dec 21, 2010

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She is a translator and EFL teacher with an MA in English studies, who dabbles in writing, subtitling and academic proofreading. When not pondering the complexities of linguistic correctness, she enjoys DIY, cycling and playing any type of guitar she can lay her hands on.