va·​pid | \ ˈva-pəd How to pronounce vapid (audio) , ˈvā- How to pronounce vapid (audio) \

Definition of vapid

: lacking flavor, zest, interest, animation, or spirit : flat, dull a gossipy, vapid woman, obsessed by her own elegance— R. F. Delderfield London was not all vapid dissipation— V. S. Pritchett

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Other Words from vapid

vapidly adverb
vapidness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for vapid

insipid, vapid, flat, jejune, banal, inane mean devoid of qualities that make for spirit and character. insipid implies a lack of sufficient taste or savor to please or interest. an insipid romance with platitudes on every page vapid suggests a lack of liveliness, force, or spirit. an exciting story given a vapid treatment flat applies to things that have lost their sparkle or zest. although well-regarded in its day, the novel now seems flat jejune suggests a lack of rewarding or satisfying substance. a jejune and gassy speech banal stresses the complete absence of freshness, novelty, or immediacy. a banal tale of unrequited love inane implies a lack of any significant or convincing quality. an inane interpretation of the play

Did You Know?

Then away goes the brisk and pleasant Spirits and leave a vapid or sour Drink. So wrote John Mortimer, an early 18th-century expert on agriculture, orchards, and cider-making, in his book on husbandry. His use was typical for his day, when vapid was often used specifically in reference to liquor. The term, which entered English in the 17th century, comes from vapidus, a Latin word that means "flat-tasting" and may be related to vapor. These days, you're likely to hear people referring to wine as vapid. You're likely to hear the word in plenty of other situations, too. Vapid, along with the synonyms insipid, flat, and inane, is often used to describe people and things that lack spirit and character.

Examples of vapid in a Sentence

Waiting rooms, as I'm sure you know, are small rooms with plenty of chairs for waiting, as well as piles of old, dull magazines to read and some vapid paintings … while you endure the boredom that doctors and dentists inflict on their patients before bringing them in to poke them and prod them and do all the miserable things that such people are paid to do. — Lemony Snicket, The Ersatz Elevator, 2001 In a secular age, symbolic rituals such as lighting the Olympic torch inevitably risk seeming a little vapid. — Tony Perrottet, Civilization, June/July 2000 … the incompetent servant, by whomsoever employed, is always against his employer. Even those born governors, noble and right honourable creatures, who have been the most imbecile in high places, have uniformly shown themselves the most opposed (sometimes in belying distrust, sometimes in vapid insolence) to THEIR employer. What is in such wise true of the public master and servant, is equally true of the private master and servant all the world over. — Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend, 1865 a song with vapid lyrics
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Recent Examples on the Web Brenda, who helped her husband Morty (Dan Hedaya) build his business from the ground up, is stunned when his sudden success and mid-life crisis prompts him to leave her for Sherry (Sarah Jessica Parker), a young, vapid social climber. Anne Cohen,, "The First Wives Club," 2 Apr. 2020 In a vapid moment of scrolling through the news on my phone, my son peeked over my shoulder to see a picture of that spongy ball and its stubby little tendrils. Kyle Whitmire, al, "What I’ll take from the quarantine: My daughter’s first steps," 30 Mar. 2020 Senator Lamar Alexander too acknowledged that these are the facts, only to scurry behind the vapid excuse that this is for the people, not the Senate, to decide. Mona Charen, National Review, "Mitt Romney: A Modern Man for All Seasons," 6 Feb. 2020 Aside from some melodic beauty in the slow movements, the piece requires the soloist to rattle off many vapid, finger-busting exploits. Washington Post, "Irish Chamber Orchestra and its enthusiastic conductor put on a show at the Library of Congress," 21 Nov. 2019 The last two, co-written with Julio Torres, showcase Yang’s strength of taking something as mundane as writing checks or as vapid as porno acting — and giving it as much drama, tension, and exquisite backstory as possible., "Get to know new Saturday Night Live cast member Bowen Yang," 27 Sep. 2019 There are these stereotypes of young girls as these selfie-taking, vain, vapid creatures when all young women are roiling with these complicated feelings. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "Dare Me creator and star talk revealing the darker reality of cheerleading in new USA drama," 28 Dec. 2019 Their turn as vapid cheerleaders whose spirited dance moves and elaborate Bobby Fischer-centric chants are utterly wrong for a chess tournament, but so right for SNL. Rachel Yang,, "The 12 best Will Ferrell sketches on Saturday Night Live, from 'More Cowbell' to Harry Caray," 22 Nov. 2019 The birth of Teen Girl Squad where vapid, poorly drawn stick figure girls went to the mall, crushed on the high school quarterback, babysat, and intermittently suffered gruesome deaths? Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The Sites That Mean the Most to Us," 1 Nov. 2019

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

circa 1656, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for vapid

borrowed from Latin vapidus "(of wine) having lost freshness, flat"; akin to Latin vappa "wine that has gone flat" and perhaps to vapor "exhalation, steam" — more at vapor entry 1

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Time Traveler for vapid

Time Traveler

The first known use of vapid was circa 1656

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Last Updated

12 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vapid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for vapid


How to pronounce vapid (audio) How to pronounce vapid (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vapid

formal : not lively or interesting : dull or boring

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More from Merriam-Webster on vapid

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vapid

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vapid

Spanish Central: Translation of vapid

Nglish: Translation of vapid for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vapid for Arabic Speakers

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