Morbid vs moribund

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Morbid and moribund are two words that are very close in pronunciation and spelling, but mean two different things. We will look at the difference between the words morbid and moribund, and look at their common roots. In addition, we will provide examples to show the difference in their use.

Morbid is an adjective which describes someone who has an abnormally intense interest in unpleasant or gruesome subjects such as suffering, disease and death. Being morbid may be a lifelong mindset or only extend to a certain subject. In medical terms, morbid describes something that indicates disease. The adverb form of the word morbid is morbidly, the noun form is morbidness. The word morbid is derived from the Latin word morbidus, which means diseased, sick. The root Latin word is mori, which means to die.

Moribund is an adjective that is usually used to describe something that is stagnant, something that is short on vitality, something in the decline. The word moribund may also be used to mean near death. The adverb form is moribundly, the noun form is moribundity. The word moribund is derived from the Latin word moribundus, which means near death, dying. The Latin root word in this case is also mori, though in this case, the dying is usually meant in a figurative sense.


Attorneys for New York City are seeking sanctions against a lawyer they say made a “morbid misrepresentation” that his mother had died to secure an adjournment, as well as from the co-counsel who reported the alleged lie to the court. (The New York Law Journal)

The Mindy Project star and Cambridge native stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday night and chatted with the late-night host about the morbid way her supporters like to show their love. (Boston Magazine)

“We’re not clear at what procedural step she is in this previously moribund case, but bringing her up on these old charges would show again just how vindictive and rights abusing this government has become,” he said in an email. (The Cambodia Daily)

As a result, the government on Saturday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a private firm, Solbec Ltd, with the aim of resuscitating the moribund state-owned Panyam fish farm. (The Premium Times)