Definition of torpor
1a : a state of mental and motor inactivity with partial or total insensibilityb : 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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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 of torpor from the Web
The big events of the fight against apartheid — the Sharpeville massacre, the Soweto uprising, the death of Steve Biko, Mandela’s release after 27 years in prison — arrive on cue but don’t rouse the series from its torpor.
The opening piece was hectic and clangorous; after that, torpor set in.
Then there’s Pandora, Nathalie’s indoor cat, a feline with a long-sitting gift for torpor.
That Muzak version of the 2001 theme played on repeat, limping through the torpor of the humidity.
The mental torpor wasn't caused merely by vitamin dearth but by the long spool of undifferentiated days.
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.
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.
Origin and Etymology of torpor
Middle English, from Latin, from torpēre
First Known Use: 13th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of torpor
TORPOR Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of torpor for English Language Learners
: a state of not being active and having very little energy
Medical Definition of torpor
: a state of mental and motor inactivity with partial or total insensibility : extreme sluggishness or stagnation of function
Seen and Heard
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