lan·​guid ˈlaŋ-gwəd How to pronounce languid (audio)
: drooping or flagging from or as if from exhaustion : weak
arms too languid with happiness to embrace himJohn Galsworthy
: sluggish in character or disposition : listless
proceeded at a languid pace
: lacking force or quickness of movement : slow
languidly adverb
languidness noun

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What Is the Difference Between languid and languorous?

Lack, lack, lack. Languid is all about lack. Depending on its context, the word can suggest a lack of strength, lack of energy, or lack of activity. The lack-of-strength sense of languid describes the kind of sluggishness that often results from fatigue or weakness, as in “the illness left her feeling languid.” The lack-of-energy sense is synonymous with listless, and often describes someone’s character or disposition as a result of dissatisfaction or sadness. Lastly, there’s the lack-of-activity sense of languid, as in “investors are worried about the languid stock market.” So languid is a total bummer, right? Not so (ahem) fast! Sometimes it’s a good thing to dillydally, and languid has also long been used to describe stretches of time—think afternoons, days, summers, etc.—that are relatively and perhaps pleasantly chill.

Choose the Right Synonym for languid

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

They proceeded at a languid pace. It was a hot, languid summer day.
Recent Examples on the Web The Toronto rapper goes for one of his calling cards, an emotive, yet languid delivery of the song’s title for the chorus, while Baby goes in for the kill with the bulk of the verse — no Bee Gees references or instrumental disco elements to be found. Starr Bowenbank, Billboard, 5 Aug. 2022 The oil on canvas shows an oarsman in a top hat rowing his skiff on languid waters. Catherine Gaschka, Fortune, 30 Jan. 2023 To poetic effect, some of her blurry, languid early videos of slow-moving crowds on Middle Eastern streets and coasts have been added; her photographs also now play a part, and some dancers are covered in Arabic calligraphy, a trademark of her art. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, 14 Aug. 2022 Barber’s Summer Music features alternately languid and spirited moods, soaring tunes and colorful instrumental combinations. Dallas News, 8 Feb. 2022 Wölffer’s rosés — the company now has eight varieties — have become a fixture at backyard parties and beach picnics, a symbol of languid days on Long Island’s South Fork. New York Times, 27 June 2022 The Niro hybrid hit the same marks in a much more languid 8.9 and 6.2 seconds, respectively. Greg Fink, Car and Driver, 29 Nov. 2022 In the Emilia Romagna region, on Italy's Adriatic coast, summers are languid, sultry, and full of opportunities to dine, drink, dance, swim, relax and replenish. Jonathan Hawkins, CNN, 15 Nov. 2022 For a fresh take, contrast the coat's hue with languid layers in a zippy citrus yellow. Nicole Kliest, Harper's BAZAAR, 15 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'languid.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle French languide, from Latin languidus, from languēre to languish — more at slack

First Known Use

1595, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of languid was in 1595


Dictionary Entries Near languid

Cite this Entry

“Languid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2023.

Kids Definition


lan·​guid ˈlaŋ-gwəd How to pronounce languid (audio)
: weak from or as if from exhaustion
: lacking spirit : listless
: lacking force or quickness of movement : slow
languidly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on languid

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