le·​thar·​gic | \ lə-ˈthär-jik How to pronounce lethargic (audio) , le- \

Definition of lethargic

1 : of, relating to, or characterized by laziness or lack of energy : feeling or affected by lethargy : sluggish The patient was weak and lethargic.
2 : indifferent, apathetic The legislature was lethargic in considering the bill.

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Other Words from lethargic

lethargically \ lə-​ˈthär-​ji-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce lethargic (audio) , le-​ \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for lethargic



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In Greek mythology, Lethe was the name of a river in the underworld that was also called the River of Unmindfulness or the River of Forgetfulness. Legend held that when someone died, he or she was given a drink of water from the river Lethe to forget all about his or her past life. Eventually this act of forgetting came to be associated with feelings of sluggishness, inactivity, or indifference. The name of the river and the word lethargic, as well as the related noun lethargy, all derive from lethe, Greek for forgetfulness.

Examples of lethargic in a Sentence

You'll need to move your lure as slowly as possible to tempt the lethargic fish into feeding … — Lenny Rudow, Boating, December 1997 … became a drifter and for a time an alcoholic and finally lapsed into lethargic self-abasement. — Stanley Karnow, New York Times Book Review, 14 Oct. 1984 The audience was cold and lethargic. It is true there were about fifty-seven applauses, but they were not roars of enthusiasm by any means. — Lady Bird Johnson 12 Jan. 1966, in A White House Diary1970 The patient is weak and lethargic. a big meal always makes me feel lethargic and sleepy
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Recent Examples on the Web The remodeled and reloaded Patriots defense looked lethargic at times against the Dolphins, allowing long touchdown drives at the start of each half. BostonGlobe.com, 17 Sep. 2021 Dairy cows suffered from heat stress, and steers and lambs were lethargic. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, 15 Sep. 2021 Unlike year’s past, when Allen had nearly herculean comebacks to preserve the streak, this time the offense was lethargic. Kevin Reynolds, Dallas News, 3 Sep. 2021 After 10 days in the hospital with a near-fatal case of COVID-19 inflammatory syndrome, the then-13-year-old softball phenom and beloved, straight-A student was lethargic and frail and braced herself against the car’s door frame. Sarah Varney, oregonlive, 16 Sep. 2021 According to reports, the girl was awake but lethargic when emergency services arrived. Steven Hernandez, The Arizona Republic, 12 Sep. 2021 More than any of these past events, the Covid-19 pandemic exposed the degree to which our global supply chains are fragile and lethargic in their ability to respond to unexpected changes in demand. Jim Witham, Forbes, 9 Sep. 2021 Some have also been lethargic and weak, stumbled or had tremors. London Gibson, The Indianapolis Star, 15 July 2021 The offense, lethargic and disjointed under Bledsoe in an uninspiring opening loss to the Bengals, immediately played with more energy and tempo under Brady. BostonGlobe.com, 10 Sep. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lethargic

see lethargy

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The first known use of lethargic was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near lethargic

lethal gene



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Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lethargic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lethargic. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of lethargic

: feeling a lack of energy or a lack of interest in doing things

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Nglish: Translation of lethargic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lethargic for Arabic Speakers


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