torpor

noun
tor·​por | \ ˈtȯr-pər How to pronounce torpor (audio) \

Definition of torpor

1a : a state of mental and motor inactivity with partial or total insensibility
b : a state of lowered physiological activity typically characterized by reduced metabolism, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature that occurs in varying degrees especially in hibernating and estivating animals

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Choose the Right Synonym for torpor

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

Did You Know?

Our English word torpor looks the same and means the same thing as Latin torpor, from which it was borrowed into Middle English. It stems from the Latin verb torpēre, which means "to be sluggish or numb." "Torpor" first appeared in a 13th-century guide for religious recluses, where it referred to a spiritual or intellectual lethargy, but there is very little evidence of its use over next the 400 years. It began showing up again in the early 1600s in reference to both mental and physical sluggishness. The related adjective "torpid" (from the Latin adjective torpidus) entered the language in the 15th century.

Examples of torpor in a Sentence

The news aroused him from his torpor. after a lifetime of setbacks, defeats, and failures, he could only greet the latest bad news with a resigned fatalism and dull torpor
Recent Examples on the Web The drag from the orchestral accompaniment may have had something to do with the reading’s torpor. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Review: Celebrating Sondheim isn’t easy, as a major tribute proves," 16 Nov. 2019 Brigham co-authored a study, published this year in the journal Oecologia, that found the average poorwill torpor is about five days—but that one especially sleepy bird slumbered for 45. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "Fascinating ways animals prepare for fall," 27 Sep. 2019 The sleepers, which includes true hibernators such as chipmunks and animals that go into torpor such as black bears, find protective dens or other sites to weather the cold. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Early cold and snow may be disruptive to us, but animals have it all figured out," 13 Nov. 2019 On a sultry summer evening evening in the Ohio Valley, a torpor hung over a nearly empty Paul Brown Stadium as the Bengals hosted the Indianapolis Colts in a meaningless exhibition game. Oliver Staley, Quartz at Work, "How the NFL separates good from great when evaluating talent," 24 Oct. 2019 Popular with tourists and locals for its cold beers and icy rum runners dispatched through open windows, Nick’s is known for laid-back, Old Florida charm that fits perfectly with beach breezes and summer torpor. Michael Mayo, sun-sentinel.com, "Nick’s Bar on Hollywood Beach aims for September reopening," 6 Aug. 2019 Popular with tourists and locals for its cold beers and icy rum runners dispatched through open windows, Nick’s is known for laid-back, Old Florida charm that fits perfectly with beach breezes and summer torpor. Michael Mayo, sun-sentinel.com, "Nick’s Bar on Hollywood Beach aims for September reopening," 6 Aug. 2019 Popular with tourists and locals for its cold beers and icy rum runners dispatched through open windows, Nick’s is known for laid-back, Old Florida charm that fits perfectly with beach breezes and summer torpor. Michael Mayo, sun-sentinel.com, "Nick’s Bar on Hollywood Beach aims for September reopening," 6 Aug. 2019 But with Paris rising from its torpor following the Normandy D-Day landings in June — changing the tide of war — the message went out that acts ‘‘to encourage the population’’ were needed. Elaine Ganley, BostonGlobe.com, "An invisible army set the stage for liberation of Paris from Nazis," 22 Aug. 2019

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for torpor

Middle English, from Latin, from torpēre

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Time Traveler for torpor

Time Traveler

The first known use of torpor was in the 13th century

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Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Torpor.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/torpor. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for torpor

torpor

noun
How to pronounce torpor (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of torpor

formal : a state of not being active and having very little energy

torpor

noun
tor·​por | \ ˈtȯr-pər How to pronounce torpor (audio) \

Medical Definition of torpor

: a state of mental and motor inactivity with partial or total insensibility : extreme sluggishness or stagnation of function

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More from Merriam-Webster on torpor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for torpor

Spanish Central: Translation of torpor

Nglish: Translation of torpor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about torpor

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