from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To be or become weak or feeble; lose strength or vigor.
  • intransitive v. To exist or continue in miserable or disheartening conditions: languished away in prison.
  • intransitive v. To remain unattended or be neglected: legislation that continued to languish in committee.
  • intransitive v. To become downcast or pine away in longing: languish apart from friends and family; languish for a change from dull routine.
  • intransitive v. To affect a wistful or languid air, especially in order to gain sympathy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See languishment.
  • intransitive v. To become languid or weak; to lose strength or animation; to be or become dull, feeble or spiritless; to pine away; to linger in a weak or deteriorating condition; to wither or fade.
  • intransitive v. To assume an expression of weariness or tender grief, appealing for sympathy.
  • intransitive v. To be neglected and unattended to.
  • intransitive v. To cause to droop or pine.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To become weak or spiritless; become listless or sad; lose strength or animation; pine: as, to languish in solitude.
  • To droop, wither, or fade, as a plant, from heat, drought, neglect, or other unfavorable conditions.
  • To grow feeble or dull; lose activity and vigor; dwindle; fall off: as, the war languished for lack of supplies; manufactures languished.
  • To act languidly; present or assume a languid appearance or expression, especially as an indication of tender or enervating emotion.
  • Synonyms To decline, faint, fail.
  • To cause to droop or fail.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. lose vigor, health, or flesh, as through grief
  • v. become feeble
  • v. have a desire for something or someone who is not present


Middle English languishen, from Old French languir, languiss-, from Latin languēre, to be languid; see slēg- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the participle stem of Anglo-Norman and Middle French languir, from Late Latin languire, alteration of Latin languēre ("to be faint, unwell"). Compare languor. (Wiktionary)


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