Lassitude, lethargy and languor

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Lassitude, lethargy and languor have similar meanings, but one of these words has a slightly different definition from the others. We will examine the meanings of lassitude, lethargy and languor, where these words come from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Lassitude denotes a state of tiredness or laziness, a lack of energy, weariness or listlessness. The word lassitude is derived from the Latin word lassitudinem which means weariness or faintness.

Lethargy is a state of extreme tiredness or drowsiness, a lack of energy. For the most part, lassitude and lethargy are interchangeable. The word lethargy is derived from the Greek word lethargia, which means forgetfulness.

Languor describes a state of tiredness and inactivity, but in a pleasant way. Languor is a state of relaxation. Languor may also describe an oppressive stillness. The word languor is derived from the Old French word langor  which means sickness, weakness, feebleness. Note the unusual spelling of languor, in which the u precedes the o in the final syllable.


There was a certain élan but also lassitude among Caritas Lebanon staff who listened the other day to Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, president of Caritas Internationalis, who spoke about “preparing the heart” of those who work in the social field with Caritas Lebanon, the charity responsible for the Catholic Church’s pastoral outreach. (The Malaysia Herald)

But on Friday between 11.20 am and 8.32 pm, the account was updated seven times, with two press statements in between, in what appeared to be a tactical shift to counter the online propaganda machinery by the terrorists who must have realised KDF’s lethargy in relaying information on such matters. (The Daily Nation)

Things get a bit busier than this modest film requires, but rural languor prevails in the end — if not with the “grace” of the title, at least with forgiveness. (The Hollywood Reporter)