In a word: hebetude

The Baltimore Sun

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your vocabulary. This week's word:


Those who indulge too freely in food and drink at the Thanksgiving table wind up on couch or recliner feeling stuffed, dull, and lethargic. The word for that condition is hebetude (pronounced HEB-i-tood).

Its roots are the Latin verb hebere, “to be dull,” and the adjective hebes, “blunt, dull.”

Hebetude is a word seldom encountered. If you would like something more familiar and less Latinate to describe your situation by mid-afternoon this Thursday, logy, from the Dutch log, “heavy, dull,” is available.

Example: From Maj. Gen. J.F.C. Fuller’s Julius Caesar: Man, Soldier, and Tyrant (1965): “Caesar, therefore, decided to liquidate Pompey’s army in Spain, a decision guaranteed not so much by Pompey’s hebetude, as by the goodwill of the inhabitants of Italy.”

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