c. 1600, "indifference to pain," from French indolence (16c.) or directly from Late Latin indolentia "freedom from pain, insensibility," abstract noun from Latin indolentem (nominative indolens) "insensitive to pain," from in- "not, opposite of, without" (see in- (1)) + dolentem (nominative dolens) "grieving," present participle of dolere "suffer pain, grieve" (see doleful). Originally of prisoners under torture, etc. The intermediate sense "state of rest or ease neither pleasant nor painful" (1650s) is now obsolete as well; main modern sense of "laziness, love of ease" (1710) perhaps reflects the notion of avoiding trouble (compare taking pains "working hard, striving (to do)").
The Castle hight of Indolence,
And its false Luxury;
Where for a little Time, alas!
We liv'd right jollity.
[Thomson, "The Castle of Indolence," 1748]
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