Word of the Day : October 12, 2011


adjective LANG-gwid


1 : drooping or flagging from or as if from exhaustion : weak

2 : sluggish in character or disposition : listless

3 : lacking force or quickness of movement : slow


The trial proceeded at a languid pace as each attorney called up a whole roster of witnesses to testify.

"From Gadhafi to Irene, the month that ended yesterday was hardly languid: London erupted, Steve Jobs resigned and the markets returned to crisis mode. Oh, and that earthquake, huh?" -- From a post by Zachary M. Seward on the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog, September 1, 2011

Did You Know?

The letter L holds claim to a payload of words in English that connote a lack of energy or enthusiasm. Two of them -- "languid" and "languorous" -- derive from the same source, the Latin verb "languēre" ("to languish"). "Languid" describes the kind of sluggishness that one often experiences from fatigue or weakness ("the illness left her feeling languid"). "Languorous" applies more to someone who just doesn’t feel the will to get up and do anything ("he felt languorous on a rainy Sunday afternoon"). There is also "lackadaisical," which implies a halfhearted effort given from lack of care ("lackadaisical seniors just floating along until graduation"), as well as "listless," which suggests a lack of spirit caused by physical weakness, dissatisfaction, or sadness ("she was listless for a few weeks following the breakup").

Test Your Memory

What word completes this sentence from a recent Word of the Day piece: "Terry had the distinct feeling that her host's British accent was ___________ -- part of an act designed to distance him even further from those around him"? The answer is ...


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