lack·​a·​dai·​si·​cal ˌla-kə-ˈdā-zi-kəl How to pronounce lackadaisical (audio)
: lacking life, spirit, or zest : languid
teachers who are impatient with lackadaisical students
lackadaisically adverb

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Where does lackadaisical come from?

Alas, alack, there are times when life seems to be one unfortunate occurrence after another. We've all had days when nothing seemed to go right. When folks had one of those days back in the 17th century, they'd cry "Lackaday" to express their sorrow and disappointment. Lackaday was a shortened form of the expression "alack the day." By the mid-1700s, lackadaisical was being used (coined through the addition of the suffix -ical). The word lackadaisy also was used around that time as an interjection similar to lackaday, and this word, though never as prevalent as lackaday, might have influenced the coinage of lackadaisical.

Choose the Right Synonym for lackadaisical

languid, languorous, lackadaisical, listless, spiritless mean lacking energy or enthusiasm.

languid refers to an unwillingness or inability to exert oneself due to fatigue or physical weakness.

was depressed and languid for weeks after surgery

languorous suggests a dreamy boredom and delicacy that avoids unnecessary activity.

languorous cats lying in the sun

lackadaisical implies a carefree indifference marked by half-hearted efforts.

lackadaisical college seniors pretending to study

listless suggests a lack of interest caused by physical weakness or dissatisfied boredom.

listless hospital patients
listless children flipping through picture books on a rainy day

spiritless refers to a lack of animation or vigor that gives one's actions and words life.

a spiritless recital of the poem

Example Sentences

His teachers did not approve of his lackadaisical approach to homework. feeling particularly lackadaisical in the summer heat, they lazily tossed a ball back and forth
Recent Examples on the Web But just like one night earlier in Chicago, the young Cavs followed their new leader -- Donovan Mitchell, who redeemed himself after a couple late-game lackadaisical blunders that nearly soured Mitchell’s otherwise shimmering home debut. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 23 Oct. 2022 Campbell County took full advantage of Ryle’s lackadaisical second half, converting a third-and-13 into a 36-yard scoring connection from senior Keegan Hill to sophomore Jaiden Combs. Evan Merrill, The Enquirer, 9 Oct. 2022 The Army has long taken a more lackadaisical attitude toward drug use than some might expect. Seth Harp, Rolling Stone, 4 Sep. 2022 The list of those who have mishandled secrets is all too familiar and a testament to the lackadaisical attitudes such coddling has produced. Ted Gup, CNN, 29 Aug. 2022 But there’s a certain amount of gravity that pulls us west, to the cool breeze and lackadaisical existence that coastal vibes promise us. Dave Schilling, Los Angeles Times, 29 Aug. 2022 August, after all, is summer’s finale that brings a lazy, lackadaisical energy along with it. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 24 Aug. 2022 Adamma is also the more lackadaisical twin, both admit. Amy Nicholson, Rolling Stone, 24 Aug. 2022 The parched, lackadaisical days of late summer in Northern California bring into season an abundant variety of tomatoes in a stunning range of hues and flavors. Adahlia Cole, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Aug. 2022 See More

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

Word History


irregular from lackaday + -ical

First Known Use

1768, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lackadaisical was in 1768


Dictionary Entries Near lackadaisical

Cite this Entry

“Lackadaisical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



lack·​a·​dai·​si·​cal ˌlak-ə-ˈdā-zi-kəl How to pronounce lackadaisical (audio)
: lacking spirit or enthusiasm : languid, listless
lackadaisically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on lackadaisical

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