Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Languid

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is languid. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Languid means “showing or having very little strength, energy, or activity.” It is generally used in formal and literary contexts. 

// The trial proceeded at a languid pace as each attorney called up a whole roster of witnesses to testify.

LANGUID in Context

“Wölffer’s rosés—the company now has eight varieties—have become a fixture at backyard parties and beach picnics, a symbol of languid days on Long Island’s South Fork.” — Alex Williams, The New York Times, 27 June 2022

Did You Know?

Lack, lack, lack. Languid is all about lack. Depending on its context, the word can suggest a lack of strength, lack of energy, or lack of activity. The lack-of-strength sense of languid describes the kind of sluggishness that often results from fatigue or weakness, as in “the illness left her feeling languid.” The lack-of-energy sense is synonymous with listless, and often describes someone’s character or disposition as a result of dissatisfaction or sadness. Lastly, there’s the lack-of-activity sense of languid, as in “investors are worried about the languid stock market.” So languid is a total bummer, right? Not so (ahem) fast! Sometimes it’s a good thing to dillydally, and languid has also long been used to describe stretches of time—think afternoons, days, summers, etc.—that are relatively and perhaps pleasantly chill.

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