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See also: lànguid



Etymology 1[edit]

Borrowed from Middle French languide (fatigued, weak; apathetic, indifferent) (modern French languide), or from its etymon Latin languidus (faint, weak; dull; slow, sluggish; ill, sick, unwell; (figuratively) inactive, inert, listless), from langueō (to be faint or weak; (figuratively) to be idle, inactive, or listless) (from Proto-Indo-European *(s)leg-, *(s)leh₁g- (to weaken)) + -idus (suffix meaning ‘tending to’ forming adjectives).[1] Doublet of languish.


languid (comparative more languid, superlative most languid)

  1. Of a person or animal, or their body functions: flagging from weakness, or inactive or weak, especially due to illness or tiredness; faint, listless.
    • 1791, Oliver Goldsmith, “Of Venemous Serpents in General”, in An History of the Earth, and Animated Nature. [], new edition, volume VII, London: [] F[rancis] Wingrave, successor to Mr. [John] Nourse, [], →OCLC, page 191:
      [T]he ſalt of vipers is alſo thought to exceed any other animal ſalt vvhatever, in giving vigour to the languid circulation, and prompting to venery.
    • 1955, Vladimir Nabokov, chapter 12, in Lolita, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: G[eorge] P[almer] Putnam’s Sons, published August 1958, →OCLC, part 2, page 200:
      At first she "ran a temperature" in American parlance, and I could not resist the exquisite caloricity of unexpected delights—Venus febriculosa—though it was a very languid Lolita that moaned and coughed and shivered in my embrace.
  2. Of a person or their movement: showing a dislike for physical effort; leisurely, unhurried.
  3. Of a person or their actions, character, etc.: lacking drive, emotion, or enthusiasm; apathetic, listless, spiritless, unenthusiastic.
  4. Of a colour: not bright; dull, muted.
  5. Of an idea, writing, etc.: dull, uninteresting.
  6. Of a period of time: characterized by lack of activity; pleasant and relaxed; unstressful.
  7. Of a thing: lacking energy, liveliness, or strength; inactive, slow-moving, weak.
    languid breathing    languid movements
    • 1646, Thomas Browne, “Compendiously of Sundry Tenents Concerning Other Animals, which Examined prove either False or Dubious”, in Pseudodoxia Epidemica: [], London: [] T[homas] H[arper] for Edward Dod, [], →OCLC, 3rd book, paragraph 10, page 176:
      [T]he ſound [of bees or flies] is ſtrongeſt in dry vveather, and very vveake in rainy ſeaſon, and tovvard vvinter; for then the ayre is moyſt, and the invvard ſpirit grovving vveake, makes a languid and dumbe alliſion upon the parts.
    • 1717, Homer, [Alexander] Pope, transl., “Book IX”, in The Iliad of Homer, volume III, London: [] W[illiam] Bowyer, for Bernard Lintott [], →OCLC, page 16, lines 325–328:
      [W]hen the languid Flames at length ſubſide, / He ſtrovvs a Bed of glovving Embers vvide, / Above the Coals the ſmoaking Fragments turns, / And ſprinkles ſacred Salt from lifted Urns; []
    • 1753 March 10, Samuel Johnson [et al.], “Number XXXVI. SATURDAY, March 10, 1753.”, in The Adventurer, volume I, London: [] J[ohn] Payne, [], published 1753, →OCLC, page 212:
      As love vvithout eſteem, is volatile and capricious; eſteem vvithout love, is languid and cold.
    • 1832 December (indicated as 1833), Alfred Tennyson, “A Dream of Fair Women”, in Poems, London: Edward Moxon, [], →OCLC, stanza XXV, page 128:
      I knew the flowers, I knew the leaves, I knew / The tearful glimmer of the languid dawn / On those long, rank, dark woodwalks drenched in dew, / Leading from lawn to lawn.
    • 1894, George du Maurier, “Part First”, in Trilby: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, →OCLC, pages 11–12:
      His thick, heavy, languid, lustreless black hair fell down behind his ears on to his shoulders, in that musicianlike way that is so offensive to the normal Englishman.
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

A variant of languet.[2]


languid (plural languids)

  1. Synonym of languet (a flat plate in (or opposite and below the mouth of) the pipe of an organ)
    Synonym: (rare) language
    • 1913, William Horatio Clarke, “Double Languids”, in Standard Organ Building, Boston, Mass.: Richard G. Badger, the Gorham Press, →OCLC, page 150:
      A new method of voicing flue pipes has recently been introduced by which a greater volume of tone is obtained without increasing the wind pressure. This is accomplished by making use of TWO languids in metal pipes with a space between the upper and lower languids. As may be required, a small hole is bored in either of the languids, or in the back of the pipe in the space between the two languids.


  1. ^ Compare “languid, adj.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022; “languid, adj.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  2. ^ languid, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022.

Further reading[edit]