leth·​ar·​gy | \ˈle-thər-jē \

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

Bluntly speaking, Mars retrograde means a lack of energy, low libido, disinterest in hitting the gym, and a general lethargy. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "How Mars Retrograde Will Affect Your Love Life and Career This Summer," 2 July 2018 Some side effects presented in the clinical trials include sleepiness, sedation, lethargy, elevated liver enzymes, decreased appetite, diarrhea, rash, weakness, insomnia, poor quality sleep and infections, according to the FDA. Lilly Price, USA TODAY, "FDA approves first marijuana-based epilepsy drug: CBD oil," 26 June 2018 Many dogs have a fever, decreased appetite and lethargy during the first few days of illness. Saryn Chorney, PEOPLE.com, "As Dog Flu Spreads from Brooklyn into Manhattan, N.Y.C. Veterinarians Issue Urgent Warnings to Pet Parents," 29 May 2018 Some of the clinical signs of canine and feline depression include loss of appetite, lethargy and sleep disturbances, which also can be signs of other illnesses. Cathy M. Rosenthal, courant.com, "Pet World: Helping A Small, Overprotective Dog Feel At Ease," 29 June 2018 The signs of heatstroke include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, fever, seizures and unconsciousness. Cathy M. Rosenthal, San Antonio Express-News, "Tips to keep your pooch safe and healthy this summer," 22 June 2018 Plague symptoms in cats and dogs include fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Christina Lords, idahostatesman, "SW Idaho cat infected in problem area known for previous plague cases," 26 June 2018 From Stephen Ross to Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier to Gase, is there a cogent, same-page plan to dislodge this franchise from two decades' irrelevance and lethargy? Greg Cote, miamiherald, "On a philosophical search to find the Miami Dolphins' grand plan, or see if there is one," 7 June 2018 Pets that become infected can exhibit symptoms including fever, lethargy and enlarged lymph nodes in the head and neck, according to the county. Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, "Rabbit found in Tinley Park tests positive for tularemia," 19 June 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

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 \
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).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!