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

Definition of hebetude

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Other Words from hebetude

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for hebetude


languor, lassitude, lethargy, listlessness, stupor, torpor


vigor, vim, vitality, vivacity

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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, "Shaking off late-summer hebetude," 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

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Time Traveler for hebetude

The first known use of hebetude was circa 1621

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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)

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