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[tawr-per] /ˈtɔr pər/
sluggish inactivity or inertia.
lethargic indifference; apathy.
a state of suspended physical powers and activities.
dormancy, as of a hibernating animal.
Origin of torpor
1600-10; < Latin: numbness, equivalent to torp(ēre) to be stiff or numb + -or -or1
2. stolidity, listlessness, lethargy. 4. sleepiness, slumber, drowsiness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for torpor
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The child's brain seems clouded, and a light form of torpor invades the whole body.

    Study of Child Life Marion Foster Washburne
  • I did not want to move again, and the torpor seemed to me thoroughly delicious.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • These completed, he sank into a state of torpor from which nothing seemed to rouse him.

    The Genius Margaret Horton Potter
  • In India you will easily believe that the torpor is still unbroken.

  • When it is exposed against its will to the light of day, it appears to be in a state of torpor.

    The Insect World Louis Figuier
  • He only issued from his torpor at night to fall into blind and puerile fits of anger.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
  • He rose, uncertain of his purpose; but the torpor of such considerations was seldom prevalent over the warmth of his nature.

    The Man of Feeling Henry Mackenzie
  • The bodies prone in them seemed startled out of their torpor by his movement.

    Lord Jim Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for torpor


a state of torpidity
Derived Forms
torporific, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: inactivity, from torpēre to be motionless
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 torpor

c.1600, from Latin torpor "numbness," from torpere "be numb," from PIE root *ster- "stiff" (cf. Old Church Slavonic trupeti, Lithuanian tirpstu "to become rigid;" Greek stereos "solid;" Old English steorfan "to die;" see sterile).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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torpor in Medicine

torpor tor·por (tôr'pər)

  1. A state of mental or physical inactivity or insensibility.

  2. Lethargy; apathy.

tor'po·rif'ic (-pə-rĭf'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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