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[lang-gwish] /ˈlæŋ gwɪʃ/
verb (used without object)
to be or become weak or feeble; droop; fade.
to lose vigor and vitality.
to undergo neglect or experience prolonged inactivity; suffer hardship and distress:
to languish in prison for ten years.
to be subjected to delay or disregard; be ignored:
a petition that languished on the warden's desk for a year.
to pine with desire or longing.
to assume an expression of tender, sentimental melancholy.
the act or state of languishing.
a tender, melancholy look or expression.
1250-1300; Middle English < Middle French languiss-, long stem of languirLatin languēre to languish; akin to laxus lax; see -ish2
Related forms
languisher, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for languishes
  • The case still languishes in the courts and the alleged rapists have not been punished.
  • Yet it cannot be said that his genius is ever unprovided of matter, or that his fancy languishes in penury of ideas.
  • He languishes by a lake until spring when she comes back to him.
  • So dealers can thrive even when the automaker languishes.
  • Despite high oil and gas prices, exploration still languishes.
  • Cotton, on the other hand, was once a vibrant trade commodity but now languishes in a state of low productivity and poor quality.
  • And that means making sure no promising discovery languishes in the laboratory.
  • The development of promising targeting antibodies against cancer often languishes at this bottleneck.
  • He could not furnish bond so languishes in the hostile.
  • The remaining produce languishes in our warehouse, waiting for the next available refrigerated truck.
British Dictionary definitions for languishes


verb (intransitive)
to lose or diminish in strength or energy
(often foll by for) to be listless with desire; pine
to suffer deprivation, hardship, or neglect: to languish in prison
to put on a tender, nostalgic, or melancholic expression
Derived Forms
languishing, adjective
languishingly, adverb
languishment, noun
Word Origin
C14 languishen, from Old French languiss-, stem of languir, ultimately from Latin languēre
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for languishes



early 14c., "fail in strength, exhibit signs of approaching death," from languiss-, present participle stem of Old French languir "be listless, pine, grieve, fall ill," from Vulgar Latin *languire, from Latin languere "be weak or faint" (see lax). Weaker sense "be lovesick, grieve, lament, grow faint," is from mid-14c. Related: Languished; languishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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