languish

verb
lan·​guish | \ ˈlaŋ-gwish How to pronounce languish (audio) \
languished; languishing; languishes

Definition of languish

intransitive verb

1a : to be or become feeble, weak, or enervated Plants languish in the drought.
b : to be or live in a state of depression or decreasing vitality languished in prison for ten years
2a : to become dispirited
b : to suffer neglect the bill languished in the Senate for eight months
3 : to assume an expression of grief or emotion appealing for sympathy languished at him through screwed-up eyes— Edith Wharton

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Other Words from languish

languisher noun
languishingly \ ˈlaŋ-​gwi-​shiŋ-​lē How to pronounce languishingly (audio) \ adverb
languishment \ ˈlaŋ-​gwish-​mənt How to pronounce languishment (audio) \ noun

Examples of languish in a Sentence

older people, especially, were languishing during the prolonged heat wave

Recent Examples on the Web

Officials have approved a settlement in a federal lawsuit over the bail system in Harris County that ensures that most people accused of misdemeanor offenses don’t languish in jail. USA TODAY, "Milestone rhino, Bigfoot shooting, jailed for feeding cats: News from around our 50 states," 1 Aug. 2019 Those arriving by boat since 2013 have been banished to immigration camps in the poor Pacific island nations of Papua New Guinea and Nauru, where hundreds still languish. Washington Post, "Hundreds of refugees protest outside Australian Parliament," 30 July 2019 Indeed, the Fed would welcome some rise in price pressures after years in which inflation has languished below its 2% target. Los Angeles Times, "Fed’s Powell risks inflation to push economic benefits for those at the bottom," 30 July 2019 As the drama has unfolded over the last two months, the agency that oversees banks, regulates payday lenders, investigates financial crimes and acts as a watchdog for securities dealers has languished. Gray Rohrer, orlandosentinel.com, "Rubin sex harassment case is just latest woe to hit Florida’s financial regulation agency," 24 July 2019 But those numbers don’t reveal how many people may be languishing in the restoration process after being referred in earlier years. Uriel J. Garcia, azcentral, "Mom of a jailed woman with mental illnesses asks that she be released," 24 July 2019 The case took 20 years to go to trial because after the attack, the teen’s untested rape kit languished at a police property storage facility, part of a group of 11,000 discovered in 2009. Elisha Anderson, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan appeals court orders inmate release following Free Press investigation," 22 July 2019 New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, who was late to enter the race and languished in fundraising, collected at least one contribution from a celebrity. Brian Slodysko, Indianapolis Star, "Here are some of the 50-plus celebs who donated to Pete Buttigieg's campaign," 18 July 2019 Within five months, the team were playing uninspiring football, and languishing in the bottom half of the Championship. SI.com, "Steve Bruce: The Appointment That Every Newcastle United Fan Feared," 17 July 2019

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

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First Known Use of languish

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for languish

Middle English, from Anglo-French languiss-, stem of languir, from Vulgar Latin *languire, from Latin languēre

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Dictionary Entries near languish

languescent

languet

languid

languish

languor

languorous

langur

Statistics for languish

Last Updated

4 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for languish

The first known use of languish was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for languish

languish

verb

English Language Learners Definition of languish

formal + literary : to continue for a long time without activity or progress in an unpleasant or unwanted situation

languish

verb
lan·​guish | \ ˈlaŋ-gwish How to pronounce languish (audio) \
languished; languishing

Kids Definition of languish

1 : to be or become weak, dull, or listless “I don't feel good at all. I think I'm languishing …”— E. B. White, Charlotte's Web
2 : to continue for a long time without activity or progress in an unpleasant or unwanted situation The innocent man languished in prison.

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More from Merriam-Webster on languish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with languish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for languish

Spanish Central: Translation of languish

Nglish: Translation of languish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of languish for Arabic Speakers

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