Definition of torpid in English:



  • 1Mentally or physically inactive; lethargic.

    ‘we sat around in a torpid state’
    • ‘Joe's journey, configured as an immersion into the blues, the heart of jazz, manifests itself as a depression, solitary and torpid, a metaphorical cave within which he has interred himself.’
    • ‘Several nights and hours of the same, torpid information pouring out of tired talking teacher types did not suggest deep emotional or entertainment value.’
    • ‘Sweeping lawsuits like the ones brought by Lowry have long been a favorite tool for shaking up torpid child welfare bureaucracies.’
    • ‘It was an impressive performance, especially when its two largest components, Allied Irish Banks and Bank of Ireland, both had a torpid year. The performance put the Irish market ahead of many of its peers.’
    • ‘And so, with ‘You and I’, ends a torpid album, that at times reminds me of nothing so much as an extended Monty Python skit.’
    • ‘But watching this torpid, listless movie is like Scuba-diving in treacle.’
    • ‘With its obvious punk references - London Calling is the name of a famous Clash song - the piece situates itself within the groundswell of populist resentment that is currently challenging the torpid inertia of the times.’
    • ‘It's about two estranged college band members (one of whom is supposedly dead) dealing with the rigours of their torpid adult existence.’
    • ‘A black sky stretched out above me and cold stars gazed down with torpid light that dulled and burned a stark yellow.’
    • ‘All the members called him Sloth, which perfectly reflected his sluggish and torpid personality.’
    • ‘We fade, lose heart, become torpid, languish, then the sap rises again, and we are passionate.’
    • ‘In under 30 minutes, we get a novel's worth of detail about her life: her beloved but torpid husband, her ability to compartmentalize infidelity, the long shadow her father casts.’
    • ‘That activity has sent a formerly torpid property market soaring, with office rents, according to one study, more than doubling from 1996 to mid-1999.’
    • ‘If, after your frustrating rush-hour road-rage journey to the gym, you're still a bit torpid, keep your wits by reminding yourself that it's all in your mind.’
    • ‘He makes a hummingbird look positively torpid.’
    • ‘The Academy Awards ceremony this year was a largely boring and torpid affair, dominated by the deeply misguided self-satisfaction of nearly all involved.’
    • ‘Yet the field of Italian economic history is anything but torpid.’
    • ‘Later on, the caffeine seems to wear off, and torpid ballads take over as the singer ventures repeatedly into a strained falsetto.’
    • ‘It is hard to avoid the impression that his torpid pace was deliberate, and that he was interested in tiring his sitters so that he could record their fatigue and psychological distress.’
    • ‘The writing is torpid, the characters unfocused, the situations barely credible.’
    • ‘His now torpid brain couldn't remember his former master well, but he knew enough to recognize him as the cause of his current level of frustration and pain.’
    lethargic, sluggish, inert, inactive, slow, slow-moving, lifeless, dull, listless, languid, lazy, idle, indolent, shiftless, slothful, heavy, stagnant, somnolent, sleepy, tired, fatigued, languorous, apathetic, passive, supine, comatose, narcotic
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    1. 1.1 (of an animal) dormant, especially during hibernation.
      ‘the animal need not lie around in a torpid state, vulnerable to attack’
      • ‘They may survive the winter, when fewer insects are available, by becoming torpid.’
      • ‘Dogfish resting on the rocks are surprisingly alert, twitching away almost as soon as we notice them, with none of their usual torpid behaviour.’
      • ‘Brain waves, absent when the animal is deeply torpid, return spontaneously.’
      • ‘It spends most of its life buried deep in the soil in a shriveled, torpid state.’
      • ‘Energy requirements when euthermic and torpid, as well as the frequency of arousals, vary strongly with ambient temperature.’
      • ‘Dead moths had been glued to tree trunks, or moths released in desired positions during daylight, when they are torpid and remain where they land.’
      • ‘Only Tony shared the experience of finding a large and torpid shark in 17m in the lee of Portland Bill some 15 years ago, but without him to remind me, I might well have forgotten all about it.’
      • ‘Nearing Chinnavaikal, we see two cows on the shore, one lying torpid in the sun, one nosing around desultorily.’
      • ‘The fire of course revives the torpid scorpion, which then menaces Margaret but is eventually subdued when they manage to throw it into a pot of boiling water.’
      • ‘Imagine one of these torpid reptiles trying to hide its awkward shell from a school of minnows: The turtle crouches warily behind a tuft of vegetation.’
      • ‘Whatever it is, they like it that way, and bleary-eyed and torpid they fin, in just enough slow motion to keep themselves in accurate alignment.’
      • ‘The ability of the egg to survive with suspended incubation and for the chick to become torpid are important for survival, since the adults spend a lot of time away from the nest looking for food that can be hard to find.’
      • ‘One day I saw a striped snake run into the water and he lay on the bottom more than a quarter of an hour, perhaps because he had not yet fairly come out of the torpid state.’
      • ‘David, perhaps you could say more about this than I can, but I think in the most extreme case it leads to the animal becoming completely torpid.’
      • ‘And during the middle of winter when they meant to be torpid or hibernating, if they're woken up it can cause them basically to starve to death, because they burn up all their energy stores.’
      • ‘This was a useful camouflage, as they were both cool, torpid, and temporarily unable to fly after their probably nightlong tryst.’
      • ‘Sheep were torpid, and even with binoculars, there wasn't a walker moving anywhere.’
      • ‘The occurrence of torpor varied with both season and sex: it was observed only in breeding season birds, and only female todies became torpid.’

plural noun

  • (at Oxford University) a series of races for eight-oared rowing boats held in Hilary term.

    ‘in my first year I rowed in Torpids’


Late Middle English: from Latin torpidus, from torpere ‘be numb or sluggish’.