Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Latin lēthargia, from Ancient Greek ληθαργία (lēthargía, drowsiness), from λήθαργος (lḗthargos, forgetful, lethargic), from λήθη (lḗthē, forgetfulness) + ἀργός (argós, not working, idle).



lethargy (countable and uncountable, plural lethargies)

  1. (pathology) A condition characterized by extreme fatigue or drowsiness, or prolonged sleep patterns. [from 14th c.]
    • c. 1599, William Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part 2:
      This Apoplexie is (as I take it) a kind of Lethargie, a sleeping of the blood, a horson Tingling.
    • 2003, Amanda Ripley, "At Last, the Pill for Men", Time, 20 Oct 2003:
      So in order to avoid unpleasant side effects like lethargy and sexual dysfunction, most recent trials also gave men testosterone supplements.
  2. A state of extreme torpor or apathy, especially with lack of emotion or interest; loosely, sluggishness, laziness. [from 14th c.]
    • (Can we date this quote by Atterbury and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Europe lay then under a deep lethargy.
    • 1995, Bruce W Nelan, "Crime and Punishment", Time, 20 Mar 1995:
      Yakovlev, one of the architects of the reforms put in place by Mikhail Gorbachev, says he too is "amazed" at the government's lethargy.
    • 2008, Nick Fletcher, The Guardian, 9 May 2008:
      The increase in mining stocks helped the FTSE 100 shake off some earlier lethargy and close 9.8 points higher at 6270.8, despite the disappointment of unchanged UK interest rates.

Related terms[edit]