1. becoming languid, in any way.
  2. expressive of languor; indicating tender, sentimental melancholy: a languishing sigh.
  3. lingering: a languishing death.

verb (used without object)

  1. to be or become weak or feeble; droop; fade.
  2. to lose vigor and vitality.
  3. to undergo neglect or experience prolonged inactivity; suffer hardship and distress: to languish in prison for ten years.
  4. to be subjected to delay or disregard; be ignored: a petition that languished on the warden’s desk for a year.
  5. to pine with desire or longing.
  6. to assume an expression of tender, sentimental melancholy.


  1. the act or state of languishing.
  2. a tender, melancholy look or expression.

verb (intr)

  1. to lose or diminish in strength or energy
  2. (often foll by for) to be listless with desire; pine
  3. to suffer deprivation, hardship, or neglectto languish in prison
  4. to put on a tender, nostalgic, or melancholic expression

v.early 14c., “fail in strength, exhibit signs of approaching death,” from languiss-, present participle stem of Old French languir “be listless, pine, grieve, fall ill,” from Vulgar Latin *languire, from Latin languere “be weak or faint” (see lax). Weaker sense “be lovesick, grieve, lament, grow faint,” is from mid-14c. Related: Languished; languishing.

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