las·​si·​tude | \ ˈla-sə-ˌtüd How to pronounce lassitude (audio) , -ˌtyüd \

Definition of lassitude

1 : a condition of weariness or debility : fatigue The patient complained of headache, nausea, and lassitude.
2 : a condition characterized by lack of interest, energy, or spirit : languor surrendered to an overpowering lassitude, an extreme desire to sit and dream— Alan Moorehead

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for lassitude

lethargy, languor, lassitude, stupor, torpor mean physical or mental inertness. lethargy implies such drowsiness or aversion to activity as is induced by disease, injury, or drugs. months of lethargy followed my accident languor suggests inertia induced by an enervating climate or illness or love. languor induced by a tropical vacation lassitude stresses listlessness or indifference resulting from fatigue or poor health. a depression marked by lassitude stupor implies a deadening of the mind and senses by shock, narcotics, or intoxicants. lapsed into an alcoholic stupor torpor implies a state of suspended animation as of hibernating animals but may suggest merely extreme sluggishness. a once alert mind now in a torpor

Sick and Tired: The Literal and Figurative Meanings of Lassitude

Lassitude and weariness make an interesting pair. As with many nearly synonymous pairs of words in English, one is derived from Latin and the other from Old English. Even though they both mean “the condition of being tired,” they are used in different ways. Following a common pattern, the Latinate word tends to be used in technical, medical, and formal writing, and the Old English-derived word is used when referring to physical, emotional, and spiritual qualities.

Lassitude comes from the Latin word lassus, meaning “weary.” Our English spelling comes from the French word that developed directly from Latin, borrowed in the 15th century. In French, the word las (masculine) or lasse (feminine) means “weary” or “tired,” and the idiom être las de means “to be sick and tired of.” This led to another English word with the same root: alas, a word that expresses sadness or disappointment, but conveys some measure of fatigue and resignation as well.

Though it sometimes is just a fancy word for fatigue in medical contexts, lassitude is also used in ways that are metaphorical and closer in meaning to “negligence”:

Congress was being choked by pettiness and lassitude.

The case was delayed because of sheer lassitude.

The failure was the result of moral lassitude.

Examples of lassitude in a Sentence

Symptoms of the disease include paleness and lassitude. our lassitude was such that we couldn't even be bothered to get more soda from the fridge
Recent Examples on the Web Recently, President Donald Trump was ailing at Walter Reed hospital, both a victim and a symbol of his Administration’s lassitude and arrogance in the face of the pandemic. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "Andrew Cuomo, the King of New York," 12 Oct. 2020 Trump is not just aggressively but lawlessly exercising the interests of his place, counting on Congress, after decades of lassitude regarding its interests, being an ineffective combatant. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: The spiraling president adds self-impeachment to his repertoire," 13 Oct. 2019 Even minor characters—like the dead-eyed, constantly texting office manager, Stacy, played with droll lassitude by Salahuddin’s sister Zuri—have their own story arcs and funny quirks. Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker, "“Sherman’s Showcase” Celebrates a Lost TV Genre," 12 Aug. 2019 In an extremely subtle way, this may suggest a kind of lassitude and saiety which may well have been his intention; in all events, it is pronounced. and finally exasperating. Charles Champlin,, "'Belle de Jour' is a sexy but sad drama," 13 Apr. 2018 More broadly, the lazy river is a sign of American indolence, of our collective postindustrial lassitude, the nation that once tamed the Mississippi now slumbering poolside, scrolling through Instagram. Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek, "What Is College Good For? Absolutely Nothing, Say Republicans (and Some Democrats)," 1 Feb. 2018 The movie’s rhythms are unhurried, though for the most part not indulgently so, and fit both the period and Antonio’s uneasy lassitude (which makes a stark contrast with the slaves’ work). Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "Review: ‘Vazante’ Revisits Brazil’s History in Black and White," 10 Jan. 2018 In response to the fiscal lassitude, Indian government 10-year bond yields are ticking up, despite the slower growth. Anjani Trivedi, WSJ, "Time to Reconsider India’s Hot Run," 9 Oct. 2017 There has been, perhaps, no greater demonstration of strategic lassitude since the West watched passively as Germany rearmed in the 1930s. Jerry Hendrix, National Review, "Why the United States Needs a 355-Ship Navy Now," 18 Oct. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of lassitude

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lassitude

Middle English, from Latin lassitudo, from lassus weary; probably akin to Old English læt late — more at late

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lassitude

Time Traveler for lassitude

Time Traveler

The first known use of lassitude was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for lassitude

Cite this Entry

“Lassitude.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lassitude



English Language Learners Definition of lassitude

formal + medical : the condition of being tired : lack of physical or mental energy


las·​si·​tude | \ ˈlas-ə-ˌt(y)üd How to pronounce lassitude (audio) \

Medical Definition of lassitude

: a condition of weariness, debility, or fatigue a disease typically accompanied by chronic lassitude

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on lassitude

What made you want to look up lassitude? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!