Word: lethargic

Pronunciation: lə-THAHR-jik

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: sluggish and apathetic

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


I can’t pinpoint an exact moment when I may have heard the word “lethargic” for the first time. It’s one of those words that I happen to come across from time to time, as much in test prep lists as in literature. After recently stumbling upon it yet again, I actually wondered how I had neglected to add it to my vocabulary segment sooner. It is, after all, a word that I could so often use to describe myself…

To feel “lethargic” is to lack energy and enthusiasm. The word can be traced back to the Greek adjective lēthargos, meaning “forgetful”. This adjective is comprised of two roots: the noun lḗthē “forgetfulness” and the adjective argós “not working”.

“Lethargic” is one of those words I would keep on a reference list for describing human nature. Everyone has those days when they feel slow and uninterested in anything, so it stands to reason that fictional characters would have those days too. If you choose to write characters who fit this type, you’re bound to draw readers who can relate. Just try to avoid feeling too “lethargic” yourself to write the stories! Good luck!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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