from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A lack of energy or vigor; sluggishness.
  • noun A lack of interest or enthusiasm; apathy.
  • noun Medicine An abnormal state of drowsiness, as caused by disease or drugs.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make lethargic or dull.
  • noun Same as litharge.
  • noun A state of prolonged inactivity or torpor; inertness of body or mind; sluggishness; dullness; stupor.
  • noun Specifically, in pathology, a disorder of consciousness, which consists of prolonged and profound sleep, from which the patient may be momentarily aroused, but into which he quickly sinks again.
  • noun The hibernation or winter sleep of an animal, or any other state of complete repose, as a period of summer lethargy observed in many insect-larvæ, the repose of many tropical animals during the dry season, etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb obsolete To lethargize.
  • noun Morbid drowsiness; continued or profound sleep, from which a person can scarcely be awaked.
  • noun A state of inaction or indifference.

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

  • noun a state of comatose torpor (as found in sleeping sickness)
  • noun weakness characterized by a lack of vitality or energy
  • noun inactivity; showing an unusual lack of energy


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

Middle English letargie, from Old French, from Late Latin lēthārgia, from Greek lēthārgiā, from lēthārgos, forgetful : lēthē, forgetfulness + ārgos, idle (a-, without; see a-1 + ergon, work; see werg- in Indo-European roots).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin lēthargia, from Ancient Greek ληθαργία (lēthargia, "drowsiness"), from λήθαργος (lēthargos, "forgetful, lethargic"), from λήθη (lēthē, "forgetfulness") + ἀργός (argos, "not working").



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  • An NPR commentator accented the second syllable, as if she were saying lethargic. I'd accept this from mere mortals.... but from NPR?

    October 26, 2008