I need to know if there is a word to refer to someone who doesn't want study anything, who is a bad student etc.


He was a bad student because he didn't study anything.

I would like know if I can replace "didn't study anything" with an adjective.

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4 Answers 4


The common word lazy can apply here.


  1. : not liking or willing to act or work

He was a bad student because he was lazy.

In this context, lazy implies that he did not do his work or study.

Specifically, to suggest that a student did not want to study, you could say

  1. disinterested
    : not having the mind or feelings engaged : not interested
    He was a bad student because he was disinterested (in school, studies, etc).
  2. apathetic
    : having little or no interest or concern : indifferent
    He was a bad student because he was apathetic (towards school, studies, etc).

Although lazy is often used, in academia there are a wider variety of words that can be used with less negative connotations.

We can say that a student is unengaged, unfocussed or detached. We avoid lazy because sometimes the fault is not always with the student but due to other circumstances either inside the class or elsewhere. It could result from sickness or inability to understand the teacher (such as being weak at understanding a second language etc.)

The aim of a good teacher is to get all their students engaged and focussed and overcome their difficulties.


It's a bit obscure and underutilized in my opinion, but I always liked to use the word insouciant for students like that.


"The English Professor had to bear the constant insouciance of the Engineering and Science majors in his Technical Writing class."


"The interns have a surprisingly insouciant attitude toward learning; perhaps the cause is that we only pay them minimum wage?"


I think the word you're looking for is unmotivated:

  1. Not having interest in or enthusiasm for something, especially work or study. (Oxford Dictionaries)

If you're unmotivated, you have no motivation:


  1. the state or condition of being motivated or having a strong reason to act or accomplish something: We know that these students have strong motivation to learn. . . .


These terms are heavily associated with students (and young people in general), as suggested by the definitions above. (The Google Image result for "unmotivated" is also instructive.) I suspect educators like this terminology in part because there's an implication with unmotivated students that the right teaching approach or subject matter could change the student's attitude toward learning and studying. Some other words sound more like an inherent predisposition or character flaw, which would be a lot harder to influence for a teacher.

So you could say

He was a bad student because he was unmotivated.


He was a bad student because he had no motivation.

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