Today, the word stoic or stoical primarily serves as an adjective describing someone who does not exhibit a lot of emotion. That definition is from the late sixteenth century; before that, the term exclusively referred to the capital-s Stoic school of philosophy, which teaches that you should not become emotional over things that you can't directly control. Stoicism was almost named Zenonism after its founder Zeno of Citium, but the Stoics didn't want to give the impression that anyone, even Zeno, was infallible, so they instead named the philosophy after the Stoa Poikile, the Athenian hall where he taught. This literally translates to "painted corridor", because the building was covered with murals depicting the Greek victory at the Battle of Marathon. The stoa part of that, which could also mean "porch" or "colonnade", traces to the Proto-Indo-European word for "stand", sta.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.