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

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 The Department of Justice is reportedly investigating the FBI for its lethargic response. Jason Schmidt, Glamour, "The Army of Women Who Took Down Larry Nassar," 30 Oct. 2018 But there’s no reason to live with feeling lethargic, fatigued, and miserable. Korin Miller, SELF, "Houston Astros Pitcher Josh James Discovered His 'Laziness' Was Actually a Symptom of Sleep Apnea," 19 Oct. 2018 The net effect is always the same: ballooning debt and a lethargic economy followed by devaluation or default or both. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Argentina Needs to Dollarize," 9 Sep. 2018 The teen appeared lethargic and incoherent, as if under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Mom, activists find missing Milwaukee girl in Chicago after disturbing video posts on Facebook," 29 June 2018 Poland looked slow and lethargic throughout the first half, with little indication that the players were keen to end a miserable World Cup on a high note with a win. SI.com, "Japan 0-1 Poland: Samurai Blue Through on Fair Play After Drab Defeat in Volgograd," 28 June 2018

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

20 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for lethargic

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

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More Definitions for lethargic



English Language Learners Definition of lethargic

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

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Comments on lethargic

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


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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