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Definition of lethargy

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leth·ar·gy  audio  (lthr-j) KEY 

pl. leth·ar·gies
  1. A state of sluggishness, inactivity, and apathy.
  2. A state of unconsciousness resembling deep sleep.

Middle English letargie, from Old French, from Late Latin lthrgia, from Greek lthrgi, from lthrgos, forgetful : lth, forgetfulness + rgos, idle ( a-, without; see a-1 + ergon, work; see werg- in Indo-European roots)

lethargy, lassitude, torpor, torpidity, stupor, languor

These nouns refer to a deficiency in mental and physical alertness and activity. Lethargy is a state of sluggishness, drowsy dullness or apathy: The war roused the nation from its lethargy. Lassitude implies weariness or diminished energy such as might result from physical or mental strain: "His anger had evaporated; he felt nothing but utter lassitude" (John Galsworthy). Torpor and torpidity suggest the suspension of activity characteristic of an animal in hibernation: "My calmness was the torpor of despair" (Charles Brockden Brown). Nothing could dispel the torpidity of the indifferent audience. Stupor is often produced by the effects of alcohol or narcotics; it suggests a benumbed or dazed state of mind: "The huge height of the buildings . . . the hubbub and endless stir . . . struck me into a kind of stupor of surprise" (Robert Louis Stevenson). Languor is the indolence typical of one who is satiated by a life of luxury or pleasure: After the banquet, I was overcome by languor.

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