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

Origin of languishing

Middle English word dating back to 1300–50; see origin at languish, -ing2
Related formslan·guish·ing·ly, adverbhalf-lan·guish·ing, adjectiveun·lan·guish·ing, adjective



verb (used without object)

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


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

Origin of languish

1250–1300; Middle English < Middle French languiss-, long stem of languirLatin languēre to languish; akin to laxus lax; see -ish2
Related formslan·guish·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for languishing

Contemporary Examples of languishing

Historical Examples of languishing

British Dictionary definitions for languishing


verb (intr)

to lose or diminish in strength or energy
(often foll by for) to be listless with desire; pine
to suffer deprivation, hardship, or neglectto languish in prison
to put on a tender, nostalgic, or melancholic expression
Derived Formslanguishing, adjectivelanguishingly, adverblanguishment, noun

Word Origin for languish

C14 languishen, from Old French languiss-, stem of languir, ultimately from Latin languēre
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for languishing



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper