le·​thar·​gic | \ lə-ˈthär-jik How to pronounce lethargic (audio) , le-\

Definition of lethargic

1 : of, relating to, or characterized by laziness or lack of energy : feeling or affected by lethargy : sluggish The patient was weak and lethargic.
2 : indifferent, apathetic The legislature was lethargic in considering the bill.

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Other Words from lethargic

lethargically \ lə-​ˈthär-​ji-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce lethargically (audio) , le-​ \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for lethargic


dull, inactive, inert, quiescent, sleepy, sluggish, torpid



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Did You Know?

In Greek mythology, Lethe was the name of a river in the underworld that was also called the River of Unmindfulness or the River of Forgetfulness. Legend held that when someone died, he or she was given a drink of water from the river Lethe to forget all about his or her past life. Eventually this act of forgetting came to be associated with feelings of sluggishness, inactivity, or indifference. The name of the river and the word lethargic, as well as the related noun lethargy, all derive from lethe, Greek for forgetfulness.

Examples of lethargic in a Sentence

You'll need to move your lure as slowly as possible to tempt the lethargic fish into feeding … — Lenny Rudow, Boating, December 1997 … became a drifter and for a time an alcoholic and finally lapsed into lethargic self-abasement. — Stanley Karnow, New York Times Book Review, 14 Oct. 1984 The audience was cold and lethargic. It is true there were about fifty-seven applauses, but they were not roars of enthusiasm by any means. — Lady Bird Johnson 12 Jan. 1966, in A White House Diary1970 The patient is weak and lethargic. a big meal always makes me feel lethargic and sleepy
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Recent Examples on the Web

Pets with salmonella infections could be lethargic and have diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Pig-ear dog treats linked to salmonella outbreak in 13 states," 5 July 2019 The start of the second half was very much the same, with Victor Moses' dragged shot after 49 minutes summarising the poor, lethargic efforts from the African side. SI.com, "Croatia 2-0 Nigeria: Ivan Rakitić Pulls the Strings as Disappointing Super Eagles Suffer Defeat," 16 June 2018 With no ball-winner and no one in the centre of the field able to take the ball on the half turn and feed their talented attackers, Argentina were lethargic, easy to defend against, and downright nap-inducing for large portions of the game. SI.com, "Argentina: Not Even Lionel Messi Can Turn Around Football's Greatest Underachievers," 19 June 2019 Attached to the tub was an automatic mangle, run on a pulley from the same electric motor that powered the lethargic paddle. Bulletin Board, Twin Cities, "Sunday Bulletin Board: Like sands through the hourglass, these are the loads of our lives!," 9 June 2019 Mexican officials are eager to make a deal — worrying that the tariffs threatened by Trump could further slow this country’s lethargic economy while also hurting U.S. businesses and consumers. Washington Post, "In Mexico, growing fears of crisis in relationship with U.S. over Trump tariff threat," 6 June 2019 The unique elements of playing in Sochi with the combination of heat and humidity sapped energy from both teams, creating a fairly lethargic second half. Tim Booth, chicagotribune.com, "Dalic: Croatia have 'power left for the English' after two wins in penalties," 8 July 2018 Smith has repeatedly sabotaged Cleveland’s defense with halfhearted switches and lethargic closeouts. Christopher L. Gasper, BostonGlobe.com, "Celtics making path to NBA Finals a mission possible," 16 May 2018 My typically affectionate cat recently became very lethargic. Dr. Rob Sharp, Country Living, "My Cat Stopped Purring. Is She Sick?," 3 Feb. 2010

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lethargic.' 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 lethargic

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lethargic

see lethargy

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Dictionary Entries near lethargic

let go of


lethal gene





Statistics for lethargic

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for lethargic

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

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English Language Learners Definition of lethargic

: feeling a lack of energy or a lack of interest in doing things

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