tor·​pid | \ ˈtȯr-pəd How to pronounce torpid (audio) \

Definition of torpid

1a : sluggish in functioning or acting a torpid mind
b : having lost motion or the power of exertion or feeling : numb
c : exhibiting or characterized by torpor : dormant a torpid bird
2 : lacking in energy or vigor : apathetic, dull

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Other Words from torpid

torpidity \ tȯr-​ˈpi-​də-​tē How to pronounce torpidity (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for torpid


dull, inactive, inert, lethargic, quiescent, sleepy, sluggish



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Examples of torpid in a Sentence

a torpid sloth that refused to budge off its tree branch my tongue and throat remained torpid for a time following the endoscopy

Recent Examples on the Web

Investors fear that the world is turning into Japan, with a torpid economy that struggles to vanquish deflation, and is hence prone to going backwards. The Economist, "Markets are braced for a global downturn," 17 Aug. 2019 But his previous effort, 2017’s Last Flag Flying, was a dull affair, with an amazing ensemble wasted on a torpid narrative. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Richard Linklater’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette Is a Gripping Mess," 16 Aug. 2019 The decision to combine bloody-minded perversity with a torpid tempo is certainly daring. N.b., The Economist, "“Too Old To Die Young” and the problem of the unsupervised auteur," 20 June 2019 In 2008, Wendy Thomas, a bioengineer at the University of Washington, showed that some strains of E. coli have evolved fringelike attachment threads called fimbriae that adhere better in fast-flowing water than in a more torpid stream. Carrie Arnold, Quanta Magazine, "Building Codes for Bacterial Cities," 25 July 2017 Monday’s men’s college championship between Virginia and Texas Tech was widely predicted to be a duck: a snoozy, asleep-on-the couch-by-10 p.m. bore, thanks to two torpid, defense-first, low-scoring outfits certain... Jason Gay, WSJ, "Virginia-Texas Tech: A ‘Crummy’ Championship Turns Into a Classic," 9 Apr. 2019 China’s currency has fallen more than 5% against the dollar this year, with analysts pointing to trade tensions as a major factor behind increasingly torpid economic figures out of Beijing. David Hodari, WSJ, "U.S. Stocks Shrug Off New Tariffs to Post Gains," 18 Sep. 2018 Les Bleus had churned out a pair of workmanlike victories over Australia and Peru before settling for a torpid scoreless draw against Denmark. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "A Teenage Star Speeds France Past Argentina in World Cup," 30 June 2018 No matter how much my more musically savvy friends tried to point out its greatness, Brahms’ famous choral work has always struck me as a torpid affair with orchestral textures as thick as molasses. Patrick Neas, kansascity, "These CDs will carry classical music lovers through the summer," 25 June 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for torpid

Middle English, from Latin torpidus, from torpēre to be sluggish or numb; akin to Lithuanian tirpti to become numb

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Statistics for torpid

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for torpid

The first known use of torpid was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for torpid



English Language Learners Definition of torpid

formal : having or showing very little energy or movement : not active


tor·​pid | \ ˈtȯr-pəd How to pronounce torpid (audio) \

Medical Definition of torpid

: sluggish in functioning or acting : characterized by torpor

Other Words from torpid

torpidity \ tȯr-​ˈpid-​ət-​ē How to pronounce torpidity (audio) \ noun, plural torpidities

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More from Merriam-Webster on torpid

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for torpid

Spanish Central: Translation of torpid

Nglish: Translation of torpid for Spanish Speakers

Comments on torpid

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


readily or continually undergoing change

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