le·thar·gic | \lə-ˈthär-jik, 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, 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 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 The fly-in patient was a humming bird who appeared weak and lethargic. Zoe Szathmary, Fox News, "Virginia firefighters treat guest hummingbird with sugar water in social media post," 25 June 2018 The agency is asking for help from hunters and the public in reporting deer that are: Unusually thin, lethargic, with drooping head and ears. Exhibiting unusual behavior (for example, acting tame around humans and allowing someone to approach). Detroit Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, "'Zombie deer' found in Michigan's Jackson County," 21 June 2018 England was lethargic, uninspired, and slow-minded for much of the game against a far weaker opponent. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "England breathes sigh of relief after uninspired win against lowly Tunisia," 18 June 2018 The maestro pleasingly kept the second movement languid but not lethargic, and the final section built to a satisfying climax — Ma giving a thumb’s up to his fellow cellists. Matthew J. Palm, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Yo-Yo Ma brings star power to Philharmonic's 25th-anniversary concert," 9 May 2018 Poor rebounding, limited offensive threats in the frontcourt and a bad habit of lethargic effort plagued the team last season. Jason Jones, sacbee, "Marvin Bagley's talent has the Kings excited. How his addition might impact the roster," 22 June 2018 For instance, one young chimpanzee unable to cope with the death of his mother in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park grew lethargic, refused food left by researchers, fell sick, and died 1 month later. Virginia Morell, Science | AAAS, "Do dolphins feel grief?," 19 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

21 Sep 2018

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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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Comments on lethargic

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