Word of the Day Archive
Wednesday July 14, 1999
torpid \TOR-pid\ , adjective:
1. Having lost motion or the power of exertion and feeling; numb; benumbed.
2. Dormant; hibernating or estivating.
3. Dull; sluggish; apathetic.
Canary Islanders are citizens of Spain, but geography asserts itself from time to time, as a reminder that this land will always be Africa's: the trade winds get interrupted by strong gusts from the east that bring hot dust and sometimes even torpid, wind-buffeted locusts.
-- Barbara Kingsolver, "Where the Map Stopped", New York Times, May 17, 1992
For more than twenty years--all my adult life--I have lived here: my great weight sunk, torpid in the heat, into this sagged chair on my rooftop patio.
-- Peggy Payne, Sister India
Some animals became torpid in winter, others were torpid in summer.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life
The debacle over signatures has roused the normally politically torpid Mayor, who dislikes pressing the flesh.
-- Jan Cienski, "Petition bungle robs Mayor of spot on ballot", National Post, July 30, 2002
It is a man's own fault . . . if his mind grows torpid in old age.
-- Samuel Johnson, quoted in James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, Life of Samuel Johnson
Torpid comes from Latin torpidus, "numb, sluggish," from torpere, "to be sluggish, inert, or numb."