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An irresistible compulsion; a mania.

[Latin cacoēthes, from neuter of Greek kakoēthēs, ill-disposed : kakos, bad; see kakka- in Indo-European roots + ēthos, disposition; see s(w)e- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Pathology) an uncontrollable urge or desire, esp for something harmful; mania: a cacoethes for smoking.
[C16: from Latin cacoēthes malignant disease, from Greek kakoēthēs of an evil disposition, from kakos caco- + ēthos character]
cacoethic adj
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


or cac•o•e•thes

(ˌkæk oʊˈi θiz)

an irresistible urge; mania.
[1555–65; < Latin < Greek kakóēthes, neuter (used as n.) of kakoḗthēs malignant, literally, of bad character; see caco-, ethos]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


a chronic and overwhelming desire; mania. — cacoethic, adj.
See also: Disease and Illness
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.cacoethes - an irrational but irresistible motive for a belief or action
irrational motive - a motivation that is inconsistent with reason or logic
agromania - an intense desire to be alone or out in the open
dipsomania, potomania, alcoholism - an intense persistent desire to drink alcoholic beverages to excess
egomania - an intense and irresistible love for yourself and concern for your own needs
kleptomania - an irresistible impulse to steal in the absence of any economic motive
logomania, logorrhea - pathologically excessive (and often incoherent) talking
monomania, possession - a mania restricted to one thing or idea
necromania, necrophilism - an irresistible sexual attraction to dead bodies
phaneromania - an irresistible desire to pick at superficial body parts (as in obsessive nail-biting)
pyromania - an uncontrollable desire to set fire to things
trichotillomania - an irresistible urge to pull out your own hair
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
I hope Crystal Ocean, a cracking colt, did not have his heart broken, as happened to Cacoethes in 1989, and goes on to win at the top level.
(66) Roscoe Pound, "Cacoethes Dissentiendi: The Heated Judicial Dissent" (1953) 39:9 ABA J 794 at 795, cited in Ruth Bader Ginsburg, "Speaking in a Judicial Voice" (1992) 67:6 NYUL Rev 1185 at 1194.
Celsus (9) (1st century AD) described breast cancer as appearing in stages of development, only the first of which (cacoethes) was curable.
It stated, 'The Cacoethes scribendi (46) has, of late, become epidemical.
MURDER, especially if the vast stream of fictional blood-lettings is taken into the reckoning, is surely the single subject, with, perhaps, the exception of theology, which has stimulated most prodigally the cacoethes scribendi.
I have no significant reservations in recommending the collection, but symptomatic of that disease all reviewers share (we call it cacoethes carpendi), I do have some smaller ones, if you will indulge me.
He was sent off a 2/9 favourite to prove himself against the older generation in the King George, but he struggled to fend off Cacoethes and prevailed by a neck.
Rexroth presided over the famous Gallery Six "coming out" reading of the Beats; Kerouac portrays him in this role as Rheinhold Cacoethes in The Dharma Bums (1958, 13-15).