leth·​ar·​gy | \ ˈle-thər-jē How to pronounce lethargy (audio) \

Definition of lethargy

1 : abnormal drowsiness
2 : the quality or state of being lazy, sluggish, or indifferent

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for lethargy


hebetude, languor, lassitude, listlessness, stupor, torpor


vigor, vim, vitality, vivacity

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for lethargy

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

Examples of lethargy in a Sentence

However, on arrival, a mysterious illness had debilitated Darcus Bowden. An illness that no doctor could find any physical symptoms of, but which manifested itself in the most incredible lethargy, creating in Darcus … a lifelong affection for the dole, the armchair, and British television. — Zadie Smith, White Teeth, 2001 Warming himself ever so briefly had shaken away the lethargy and resignation and restored his will to survive. — Lois Lowry, The Giver, 1993 Dick Gale drew a long, deep breath. A coldness, a lethargy, an indifference that had weighed upon him for months had passed out of his being. — Zane Grey, Desert Gold, 1913 Then it occurred to me that I had shut the window before I had come to bed. I would have got out to make certain on the point, but some leaden lethargy seemed to chain my limbs and even my will. — Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897 St. Clare knew this well; and often, in many a weary hour, he heard that slender, childish voice calling him to the skies, and saw that little hand pointing to him the way of life; but a heavy lethargy of sorrow lay on him,—he could not arise. — Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, 1852 Symptoms of the disease include loss of appetite and lethargy. I snapped out of my lethargy and began cleaning the house.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Parvo symptoms strike quickly, and can include severe diarrhea and vomiting, lethargy, bloating or abdominal pain, hypothermia or fever. Emma Keith, Detroit Free Press, "Here's how to protect your pets from parvo and distemper," 8 June 2019 Symptoms of intoxication, according to the AKC, include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, abdominal tenderness, and changes in thirst and urination. Yvette Manes, Woman's Day, "The Scary Reason You Shouldn’t Feed Your Dogs Grapes," 7 May 2019 One 10-year study conducted on using keto to manage pediatric epilepsy found the following GI side effects over time: constipation, high triglyceride levels, high cholesterol, diarrhea, lethargy, iron deficiency, vomiting, and kidney stones. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "9 Keto Diet Dangers Nutritionists Want You to Know About," 2 Jan. 2019 Heavy exercise can knock the brain’s voltage down to levels that cause confusion, lethargy, and lack of concentration. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Air Force Is Changing How Special Ops Fighters Are Trained," 12 Feb. 2019 Just one bite has the potential to make cats and dogs sick — usually in the form of vomiting followed by lethargy. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "5 Holiday Plants That Are Way More Toxic Than Poinsettias to Cats and Dogs," 14 Dec. 2018 Symptoms of the unknown illness include coughing, sneezing, low-grade fevers and lethargy, according to Autumn Trails. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Mysterious dog disease hits Virginia city: 'There's an epidemic underway'," 9 Aug. 2018 Dog Flu 2018 Nearly all dogs exposed to the illness become infected, and 80 percent show symptoms like coughing, lethargy, fever, decrease appetite, and a running nose. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "The Dog Flu Is Spreading Across the Country for the First Time In Years," 16 Aug. 2018 Put at the disposal of the prime minister, the aid would help circumvent the Iraqi bureaucracy’s lethargy and corruption, while enabling him to build support by producing legitimate economic benefits. Kenneth M. Pollack, WSJ, "Iraq Gets a Government—and It Was Worth the Wait," 5 Oct. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lethargy

Middle English litargie, from Medieval Latin litargia, from Late Latin lethargia, from Greek lēthargia, from lēthargos forgetful, lethargic, irregular from lēthē

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lethargy

Dictionary Entries near lethargy

lethal gene







Statistics for lethargy

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lethargy

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lethargy



English Language Learners Definition of lethargy

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


leth·​ar·​gy | \ ˈleth-ər-jē How to pronounce lethargy (audio) \
plural lethargies

Medical Definition of lethargy

1 : abnormal drowsiness
2 : the quality or state of being lazy, sluggish, or indifferent

Other Words from lethargy

lethargic adjective

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on lethargy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lethargy

Spanish Central: Translation of lethargy

Nglish: Translation of lethargy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lethargy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on lethargy

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


standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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