Definition and Meaning

The English word „languish“ has several nuanced meanings, often used to describe a state of weakness or decline. The core definitions include:

  1. To become weak or feeble: This is often used when someone or something loses strength or vigor over time.
  2. To suffer from being forced to remain in an unpleasant place or situation: This usage highlights the feeling of prolonged suffering or neglect.
  3. To pine with love or grief:

Origins and Etymology

The word „languish“ comes from the Old French word „languir,“ which in turn derives from the Latin „languere,“ meaning „to be faint or weak.“ The word has been in use in English since the 14th century, maintaining its core meanings related to weakness and decline.

Usage in Sentences

To better understand how „languish“ is used in English, here are some examples:

  • Weakness or Decline: „The once-thriving town began to languish after the factory closed down.“
  • Prolonged Suffering: „Prisoners of war languished in terrible conditions for years.“
  • Love or Grief: „She languished in sorrow after the loss of her beloved pet.“

Synonyms and Related Words

Several synonyms can be used interchangeably with „languish,“ depending on the context. These include:

  • Wither: Often used to describe plants losing vitality but can be used metaphorically for people or situations.
  • Fade: To lose brightness or strength gradually.
  • Pine: To suffer a mental and physical decline due to longing or grief.
  • Decline: To decrease in quality, importance, or strength.

German Translation

In German, „languish“ can be translated as „schwächeln“ or „dahinsiechen,“ depending on the context. Here are some example translations:

  • Weakness or Decline : „The once thriving town began to weaken after the factory closed.“
  • Prolonged Suffering : „Prisoners of war languished for years under terrible conditions.“
  • Love or Grief : „She was languishing in grief after losing her beloved pet.“


„Languish“ is a versatile word with rich historical roots and various applications in modern English. Understanding its meanings and contexts can enhance your English vocabulary, allowing you to express states of weakness, suffering, and deep emotional longing more precisely. Whether you encounter it in literature, news, or everyday conversations, recognizing the nuances of „languish“ will help you grasp the full depth of the messages conveyed.

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