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For the book by Canadian poet Christian Bök, see Eunoia (book).

In rhetoric, eunoia is the goodwill a speaker cultivates between himself/herself and his/her audience, a condition of receptivity.[1] It comes from the Greek word εὔνοια, meaning "well mind" or "beautiful thinking".[2] In book eight of Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle uses the term to refer to the kind and benevolent feelings of goodwill a spouse has which form the basis for the ethical foundation of human life.[3] Cicero translates εὔνοια (eunoia) with the Latin word benevolentia.[4]

It is also a rarely used medical term referring to a state of normal mental health.[5] Eunoia is the shortest English word containing all five main vowel graphemes.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Eunoia is a work by poet Christian Bök consisting of five chapters, each one using only one vowel.
  • In the science-fiction television series Earth: Final Conflict, Eunoia is the name of the native language of the Taelon race. Bök was a consultant on that series and helped develop the language.
  • The debut album of math rock band Invalids.
  • In December 2015, the Ministry of Education in Singapore unveiled the name of a new junior College set to open in 2017, Eunoia Junior College. The unfamiliar name generated significant buzz in the Singapore community when it was first announced as many were unable to pronounce it, much to the amusement of the nation.[6] including memes referencing Singlish homophones.[7]

See also[edit]

  • Iouea, a similarly short word with all the vowels.


  1. ^ Garver, Eugene (1994). Aristotle's Rhetoric: An Art of Character. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 112. ISBN 9780226284255. 
  2. ^ a b "Beautiful vowels". Today (BBC Radio 4). BBC. Eunoia is the shortest word in English containing all five vowels - and it means "beautiful thinking". It is also the title of Canadian poet Christian Bok's book of fiction in which each chapter uses only one vowel. 
  3. ^ The Family In Aristotle
  4. ^ Gloria Vivenza, "Classical Roots of Benevolence in Economic Thought," Ancient Economic Thought (Routledge, 1997) pp. 198–199, 204–208 online; Cicero's influence on patristic usage, Carolinne White, Christian Friendship in the Fourth Century (Cambridge University Press, 1992, 2002), pp. 16–17 online, 32, and p. 255, note 13.
  5. ^ Definition: eunoia from Online Medical Dictionary
  6. ^ There’s going to be a new junior college called Eunoia; here’s how to pronounce it
  7. ^ What kinda weird school name is this la sial?!

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of eunoia at Wiktionary