heb·​e·​tude | \ ˈhe-bə-ˌtüd How to pronounce hebetude (audio) , -ˌtyüd \

Definition of hebetude

Other Words from hebetude

hebetudinous \ ˌhe-​bə-​ˈtü-​dᵊn-​əs How to pronounce hebetude (audio) , -​ˈtyü-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for hebetude



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did you know?

Hebetude usually suggests mental dullness, often marked by laziness or torpor. As such, it was a good word for one Queenslander correspondent, who wrote in a letter to the editor of the Weekend Australian of "an epidemic of hebetude among young people who … are placing too great a reliance on electronic devices to do their thinking and remembering." Hebetude comes from Late Latin hebetudo, which means pretty much the same thing as our word. It is also closely related to the Latin word for "dull," hebes, which has extended meanings such as "obtuse," "doltish," and "stupid." Other hebe- words in English include hebetudinous ("marked by hebetude") and hebetate ("to make dull").

Examples of hebetude in a Sentence

faced with a class forever enveloped in a miasma of apathy and intellectual hebetude, the professor had little hope of kindling an interest in medieval European history
Recent Examples on the Web The leaden weight of an irremediable idleness descended upon General Feraud, who having no resources within himself sank into a state of awe-inspiring hebetude. Ruth Walker, The Christian Science Monitor, 7 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hebetude.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of hebetude

circa 1621, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hebetude

Late Latin hebetudo, from hebēre to be dull; akin to Latin hebes dull

Learn More About hebetude

Time Traveler for hebetude

Time Traveler

The first known use of hebetude was circa 1621

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About hebetude

Dictionary Entries Near hebetude




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for hebetude

Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hebetude.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hebetude. Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for hebetude


heb·​e·​tude | \ ˈheb-ə-ˌt(y)üd How to pronounce hebetude (audio) \

Medical Definition of hebetude

: the absence of mental alertness and affect (as in schizophrenia)


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!