Definition of languish in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlaŋɡwɪʃ/


[no object]
1(Of a person, animal, or plant) lose or lack vitality; grow weak: plants may appear to be languishing simply because they are dormant
More example sentences
  • If your pet dog would truly languish in the wild, as a stray, you might be able to meet the comparable-life condition without meeting, say, his needs for adequate stimulation, exercise, and contact with other dogs.
  • Aside from all this, a linden tree languishes at the inside corner of the last dogleg, just at the turn of the river, blocking the direct route to the green.
  • Once again - many of those plants may simply languish in your garden's growing conditions.
weaken, grow weak, deteriorate, decline, go into a decline;
wither, droop, flag, wilt, fade, fail, waste away
informal go downhill
1.1Fail to make progress or be successful: Kelso languish near the bottom of the Scottish First Division (as adjective languishing) the country’s languishing stock market
More example sentences
  • Saturday's home defeat to a side which was bottom of the Conference was the final straw, following a start to the season that has seen City languishing near the bottom of the table claiming just 16 points from 16 games.
  • At the back however - even against an impoverished Hearts' display - there was no shortage of evidence as to why Killie are languishing near the bottom of the table.
  • Although the team are languishing near the bottom of the third division, I am still very proud to be a York fan, and the other week when we beat Reading in the Cup I was so happy I had tears in my eyes.
1.2 archaic Pine with love or grief: she still languished after Richard
More example sentences
  • I have seen children all over the world languishing for love, and care, and giving.
1.3 archaic Assume a sentimentally tender or melancholy expression or tone: when a visitor comes in, she smiles and languishes
2Be forced to remain in an unpleasant place or situation: he has been languishing in jail since 1974
More example sentences
  • According to official figures, around 250,000 old appliances will be languishing in storage by the end of the year because of an EU directive demanding the safe disposal of the harmful chemicals they contain.
  • They were eager to unearth every scrap of information, many having high hopes that they were related to someone rich and famous with an unclaimed fortune languishing in a long-forgotten bank account just begging to be collected.
  • Supporters of democracy must firmly challenge that dangerous illusion and remind the world of the dissidents languishing in Cuban jails, many of whom have become seriously ill after being confined for long periods in dank cells.
waste away, rot, decay, wither away, moulder, be abandoned, be neglected, be forgotten, suffer;
be disregarded, experience hardship







noun ( archaic)
Example sentences
  • The whole mess, laced with pleas to ‘Keep freakin' / Keep on freakin' out,’ amounts to a suffocating Wall of displaced apathetic aggression and slacker languishment.
  • No clue is offered to the identity of ‘his […] favorite Disciple’ other than Frasi but she was perhaps an amateur, one of those Fine Ladies whose hearts were caught by Saint-Germain's ‘languishment’.


Middle English (in the sense 'become faint, feeble, or ill'): from Old French languiss-, lengthened stem of languir 'languish', from a variant of Latin languere, related to laxus 'loose, lax'.

  • Early senses included ‘become faint, feeble, or ill’; in the early 18th century it came to mean ‘assume a languid or sentimentally tender expression’ and was aptly applied to Sheridan's character Lydia Languish in The Rivals performed for the first time in 1775. The word goes back to Latin laxus ‘loose, lax’ found also in lax (Late Middle English), relax (Late Middle English) where the re- intensifies the sense; relay (Late Middle English), release (Middle English), and laxative (Late Middle English) something that loosens the bowels. See slake

Words that rhyme with languish


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: lan|guish

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