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 languish (audio) \ adverb
languishment \ ˈlaŋ-​gwish-​mənt How to pronounce languish (audio) \ noun

Examples of languish in a Sentence

older people, especially, were languishing during the prolonged heat wave
Recent Examples on the Web The plaintiffs claimed the county’s bail system was unfair to poor defendants who languish in jail while others bail out quickly. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, 30 Dec. 2020 But often, once someone is arrested on foreign soil, the cases languish. New York Times, 6 June 2021 In Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, vaccination rates languish in the single figures, contrasting with the U.S., where nearly half of all people have gotten at least one shot. Chronicle Staff, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 May 2021 Work, responsibilities at home, and relationships are left to languish. Outdoor Life, 17 Dec. 2020 Some of those that do cap the number of people who can get help, leaving people to languish on waiting lists for years. Bryce Covert, Star Tribune, 28 Apr. 2021 Prince Alessandro responded by letting the Torlonia Marbles continue to languish under a growing layer of filthy Roman dust, shrouded in plastic and malign neglect. Ingrid D. Rowland, The New York Review of Books, 27 Apr. 2021 On the anniversary of the United States' closing of its borders to its neighbors to the north and south, lawmakers and families across the country separated by the border continue to languish with no clear end in sight. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, 22 Mar. 2021 Are some people more likely to languish than others? Claire Gillespie, Health.com, 21 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for languish

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for languish

Last Updated

23 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Languish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/languish. Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on languish

Nglish: Translation of languish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of languish for Arabic Speakers

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