Skip to main content



From the Greek ε[symbol omitted]τραπελία meaning ready wit or liveliness, is a term used by scholastic theologians to signify moderation in the use of recreation. As a virtue eutrapelia was introduced into the study of morals by aristotle (Eth. Nic. 4.8), and in modern speech it goes commonly by the name of recreation. Constant work and application cause weariness of mind and body, and the normal cure for this is play. However, this need for relaxation should be in accord with the demands of right reason, which require that recreation involve nothing morally evil, that the participant should not lose selfcontrol altogether, and that the norms of prudence be followed as regards time, circumstances, and social relationship. Defect in the matter of eutrapelia would consist in taking too little recreation, which leads to austere moroseness, or in being boorish in one's social relationships. Excess in recreation would occur if one were to become too fascinated by the delight that accompanies play and thus neglect the serious matters of life. St. thomas aquinas included eutrapelia in his scheme of virtues under the potential parts of temperance. Offenses against this virtue ordinarily are not grave, and at most would consist in a hindrance to good social life. Too little play can be worse than too much.

Bibliography: aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 1128a. thomas aquinas, ST 2a2ae, 168.2. f. l. b. cunningham, ed., The Christian Life (Dubuque 1959) 740741.

[w. herbst]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Eutrapelia." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . 19 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Eutrapelia." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . (February 19, 2019).

"Eutrapelia." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved February 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.