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[leth-er-jee] /ˈlɛθ ər dʒi/
noun, plural lethargies.
the quality or state of being drowsy and dull, listless and unenergetic, or indifferent and lazy; apathetic or sluggish inactivity.
Pathology. an abnormal state or disorder characterized by overpowering drowsiness or sleep.
Origin of lethargy
1325-75; < Late Latin lēthargia < Greek lēthargía, equivalent to lḗtharg(os) drowsy + -ia -y3 (see Lethe, -algia); replacing Middle English litargie < Medieval Latin litargīa < Late Greek, Greek, as above
Related forms
hyperlethargy, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for lethargy
  • Yet there was no sign of lethargy or sluggishness anywhere about it.
  • If you have unexplained lethargy, you might check that out as well.
  • Such conversations can drain your energy and contribute to feelings of resentment and lethargy as the new term begins.
  • To the extent there is a national sport, it is either driving dangerously or lethargy.
  • Such primaries often occur amid lethargy, parochial concerns, and confusion about national candidates and issues.
  • The writing is brisk, as befits the episodic manner of telling, but there is a prevailIng atmosphere of discontent and lethargy.
  • The atmosphere was one of gentle lethargy and decay.
  • One way of overcoming this would be special radio broadcasts to stir the daydreamer out of his lethargy.
  • Her lethargy and confusion meant the infection might have spread past the meninges and infected neurons.
  • He was showing signs of lethargy and dehydration, and they found driftwood in his throat that needed to be removed.
British Dictionary definitions for lethargy


noun (pl) -gies
sluggishness, slowness, or dullness
an abnormal lack of energy, esp as the result of a disease
Derived Forms
lethargic (lɪˈθɑːdʒɪk), lethargical, adjective
lethargically, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin lēthargīa, from Greek lēthargos drowsy, from lēthē forgetfulness
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 lethargy

late 14c., litarge, from Old French litargie or directly from Medieval Latin litargia, from Late Latin lethargia, from Greek lethargia "forgetfulness," from lethargos "forgetful," originally "inactive through forgetfulness," from lethe "forgetfulness" (see latent) + argos "idle" (see argon). The form with -th- is from 1590s in English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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lethargy in Medicine

lethargy leth·ar·gy (lěth'ər-jē)

  1. A state of sluggishness, inactivity, and apathy.

  2. A state of unconsciousness resembling deep sleep.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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