Definitions

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

  • n. A state of mental or physical inactivity or insensibility.
  • n. Lethargy; apathy. See Synonyms at lethargy.
  • n. The dormant, inactive state of a hibernating or estivating animal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Being inactive or stuporous.
  • n. A state of apathy or lethargy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Loss of motion, or of the motion; a state of inactivity with partial or total insensibility; numbness.
  • n. Dullness; sluggishness; inactivity.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Loss of motion or sensibility; numbness or inactivity of mind or body; torpidity; torpidness; dormancy; apathy; stupor: as, the torpor of a hibernating animal; the torpor of intoxication or of grief.
  • n. Dullness; sluggishness; apathy; stupidity.

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

  • n. a state of motor and mental inactivity with a partial suspension of sensibility
  • n. inactivity resulting from lethargy and lack of vigor or energy

Etymologies

Latin, from torpēre, to be stiff; see ster-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin torpor ("numbness"), from torpeō ("I am numb"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Hibernation: Each winter bears enter a sluggish state called torpor, which is not true hibernation.

    Press of Atlantic City: Editorials

  • "has broken the spell under which we lay in torpor for ages, taking it to be the normal condition of certain races living in certain geographical limits."

    Tagore and His India

  • Elizabeth alone had the power to draw me from these fits; her gentle voice would soothe me when transported by passion, and inspire me with human feelings when sunk in torpor.

    Chapter 22

  • In this subdued metabolic state, called torpor, hibernators ratchet down their inner thermostats, precipitously lower their heart and respiratory rates, and tune out nearly all external stimuli.

    Many species use hibernation to survive the rigors of winter

  • It can enter a state called torpor in which the body temperature, normally more than 105 degrees Fahrenheit, falls to below 70.

    Birdology

  • They are preparing for a long winter of temporary hibernation known as torpor by chomping down about 20,000 calories per day.

    Rich Wolf: Boulder Wolfs Host Bears

  • What finally pulled Cassy from the depths of her torpor was a sudden stinging sensation in her nose followed by a series of violent sneezes.

    Invasion

  • The first sharp sensation which roused her from her torpor was a quick desire to see him once more; up she sprang, and climbed to an out-jutting dizzy point of rock, but a little above her sheltered nook, yet commanding a wide view over the bare, naked sands; -- far away below, touching the rippling water-line, was Stephen Bromley, busily gathering in his nets; besides him there was no living creature visible.

    Ruth

  • Experiments with Djugarian hamsters, native to Siberia, showed that when the tiny rodents temporarily lower their metabolism and body temperatures, a state called torpor, it stops and even reverses a natural breakdown of chromosomes linked to ageing.

    NEWS.com.au | Top Stories

  • Experiments with Djugarian hamsters native to Siberia showed that when the tiny rodents temporarily lower their metabolism and body temperatures, a state called torpor, it stops and even reverses a natural breakdown of chromosomes linked to ageing.

    The Australian | News |

Comments

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  • I had put out the light, and a torpor had come over me that was more like an anesthetic than sleep.

    Gustavo Corção, Who If I Cry Out

    November 19, 2011

  • I just love words and everything about them! Finding the right one to use at the right time, understanding their power, subtlety and application fascinates me! And their history!

    September 22, 2008