See also: lànguid



Etymology 1Edit

Borrowed from Middle French languide (fatigued, weak; apathetic, indifferent) (modern French languide), or from its etymon Latin languidus (faint, weak; dull; slow, sluggish; ill, sick, unwell; (figuratively) inactive, inert, listless), from langueō (to be faint or weak; (figuratively) to be idle, inactive, or listless) (from Proto-Indo-European *(s)leg-, *(s)leh₁g- (to weaken)) + -idus (suffix meaning ‘tending to’ forming adjectives).[1] Doublet of languish.


languid (comparative more languid, superlative most languid)

  1. Of a person or animal, or their body functions: flagging from weakness, or inactive or weak, especially due to illness or tiredness; faint, listless.
    • 1791, Oliver Goldsmith, “Of Venemous Serpents in General”, in An History of the Earth, and Animated Nature. [], volume VII, new edition, London: [] F[rancis] Wingrave, successor to Mr. [John] Nourse, [], OCLC 877622212, page 191:
      [T]he ſalt of vipers is alſo thought to exceed any other animal ſalt vvhatever, in giving vigour to the languid circulation, and prompting to venery.
    • 1955, Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (Crest Giant; D338), Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett Publications, published December 1959, OCLC 768447, part 2, page 181:
      At first she "ran a temperature" in American parlance, and I could not resist the exquisite caloricity of unexpected delights—Venus febriculosa—though it was a very languid Lolita that moaned and coughed and shivered in my embrace.
  2. Of a person or their movement: showing a dislike for physical effort; leisurely, unhurried.
  3. Of a person or their actions, character, etc.: lacking drive, emotion, or enthusiasm; apathetic, listless, spiritless, unenthusiastic.
  4. Of a colour: not bright; dull, muted.
  5. Of an idea, writing, etc.: dull, uninteresting.
  6. Of a period of time: characterized by lack of activity; pleasant and relaxed; unstressful.
  7. Of a thing: lacking energy, liveliness, or strength; inactive, slow-moving, weak.
    languid breathing    languid movements
    • 1646, Thomas Browne, “Compendiously of Sundry Tenents Concerning Other Animals, which Examined prove either False or Dubious”, in Pseudodoxia Epidemica: [], London: [] T[homas] H[arper] for Edward Dod, [], OCLC 1008551266, 3rd book, paragraph 10, page 176:
      [T]he ſound [of bees or flies] is ſtrongeſt in dry vveather, and very vveake in rainy ſeaſon, and tovvard vvinter; for then the ayre is moyſt, and the invvard ſpirit grovving vveake, makes a languid and dumbe alliſion upon the parts.
    • 1717, Homer; [Alexander] Pope, transl., “Book IX”, in The Iliad of Homer, volume III, London: [] W[illiam] Bowyer, for Bernard Lintott [], OCLC 670734254, lines 325–328, page 16:
      [W]hen the languid Flames at length ſubſide, / He ſtrovvs a Bed of glovving Embers vvide, / Above the Coals the ſmoaking Fragments turns, / And ſprinkles ſacred Salt from lifted Urns; []
    • 1753 March 10, Samuel Johnson [et al.], “Number XXXVI. SATURDAY, March 10, 1753.”, in The Adventurer, volume I, London: [] J[ohn] Payne, [], published 1753, OCLC 14705934, page 212:
      As love vvithout eſteem, is volatile and capricious; eſteem vvithout love, is languid and cold.
    • 1832 December (indicated as 1833), Alfred Tennyson, “A Dream of Fair Women”, in Poems, London: Edward Moxon, [], OCLC 3944791, stanza XXV, page 128:
      I knew the flowers, I knew the leaves, I knew / The tearful glimmer of the languid dawn / On those long, rank, dark woodwalks drenched in dew, / Leading from lawn to lawn.
    • 1894, George du Maurier, “Part First”, in Trilby: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, OCLC 174215199, pages 11–12:
      His thick, heavy, languid, lustreless black hair fell down behind his ears on to his shoulders, in that musicianlike way that is so offensive to the normal Englishman.
Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

A variant of languet.[2]


languid (plural languids)

  1. Synonym of languet (a flat plate in (or opposite and below the mouth of) the pipe of an organ)
    Synonym: (rare) language
    • 1913, William Horatio Clarke, “Double Languids”, in Standard Organ Building, Boston, Mass.: Richard G. Badger, the Gorham Press, OCLC 903899925, page 150:
      A new method of voicing flue pipes has recently been introduced by which a greater volume of tone is obtained without increasing the wind pressure. This is accomplished by making use of TWO languids in metal pipes with a space between the upper and lower languids. As may be required, a small hole is bored in either of the languids, or in the back of the pipe in the space between the two languids.


  1. ^ Compare “languid, adj.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022; “languid, adj.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  2. ^ languid, n.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022.

Further readingEdit