[ lee-thee ]

  1. Classical Mythology. a river in Hades whose water caused forgetfulness of the past in those who drank of it.

  2. (usually lowercase) forgetfulness; oblivion.

Origin of Lethe

<Latin <Greek, special use of lḗthē forgetfulness, akin to lanthánesthai to forget

Other words from Lethe

  • Le·the·an [li-thee-uhn, lee-thee-uhn], /lɪˈθi ən, ˈli θi ən/, Lethied, adjective

Words Nearby Lethe

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use Lethe in a sentence

  • The growl of the English mastiff and the snarl of the Scotch terrier would make a duet which would enliven the shores of Lethe.

    A Mortal Antipathy | Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • Lethe was the river of forgetfulness, and those who drank of it forgot their former life and were ready for a new one.

  • Medical art brings the waters of Lethe to the bedside of woman in her hour of trial.

    The Physical Life of Woman: | Dr. George H Napheys
  • The loss of intellect is the Lethe, but for which the Will would remember the various manifestations it has caused.

    Reincarnation | Th. Pascal
  • About a mile ahead was an inn he knew of where he might enjoy a great refreshment, and drink the waters of Lethe.

    War and the Weird | Forbes Phillips

British Dictionary definitions for Lethe


/ (ˈliːθɪ) /

  1. Greek myth a river in Hades that caused forgetfulness in those who drank its waters

  2. forgetfulness

Origin of Lethe

C16: via Latin from Greek, from lēthē oblivion

Derived forms of Lethe

  • Lethean (lɪˈθiːən), adjective

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

Cultural definitions for Lethe


[ (lee-thee) ]

In classical mythology, a river flowing through Hades. The souls of the dead were forced to drink of its waters, which made them forget what they had done, said, and suffered when they were alive.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.