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Saint Ignatius High School

Etymology Word of the Week

Director of Admissions Pat O'Rourke '90, a self-proclaimed "word nerd," brings you his Etymology Word of the Week. Every other week he presents an online Etymology lesson just for fun!

Etymology Word of the Week – As some of you know, in addition to working in the Admissions Office, I also teach Latin at Saint Ignatius and am something of a "word nerd."  Thus, each week, I’ll sneak a vocabulary word (sometimes derived from Latin, sometimes not) into the e-blast.  Here, then. is this week’s edition of the Etymology Word of the Week.  


Definition: “Drowsy, sluggish, apathetic.”  

Origin/Derivation: From the Greek lethargos meaning “forgetful; inactive” which combines lethe meaning “forgetfulness” and argos meaning “idle.”  Associated with the mythological river Lethe, which the dead drank from to induce forgetfulness (in theory, they would forget all of their earthly deeds) before they entered the Underworld.     

Related Words/Phrases: lethal, latent (hidden, secret, stealthy), argon (chemical element named for its inert qualities).