disinclination to activity or exertion
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Laziness is a disinclination to activity or exertion despite having the ability to do so.

The lazy are always wanting to do something. ~ Marquis de Vauvenargues
Scene in club lounge, by Thomas Rowlandson


  • As a confirmed melancholic, I can testify that the best and maybe only antidote for melancholia is action. However, like most melancholics, I suffer also from sloth.
    • Edward Abbey, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis in Deserto) (1990)
  • LAZINESS, n. Unwarranted repose of manner in a person of low degree.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • Bhikkhus, the lazy person dwells in suffering, soiled by evil unwholesome states, and great is the personal good that he neglects. But the energetic person dwells happily, secluded from evil unwholesome states, and great is the personal good that he achieves. It is not by the inferior that the supreme is attained; rather, it is by the supreme that the supreme is attained. Bhikkhus, this holy life is a beverage of cream; the Teacher is present. Therefore, bhikkhus, arouse your energy for the attainment of the as-yet-unattained, for the achievement of the as-yet-unachieved, for the realization of the as-yet-unrealized.
  • Absence of occupation is not rest,
    A mind quite vacant is a mind distressed.
  • An idler is a watch that wants both hands;
    As useless when it goes as when it stands.
  • Idlers seem to be a special class for whom nothing can be planned, plead as one will with them – their only contribution to the human family is to warm a seat at the common table.
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald, American author. From a letter to his daughter, Frances Scott Fitzgerald, July 7, 1938, The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by Andrew Turnball, pub. Charles Shribner’s Sons (1967)
  • Don't yield to that alluring witch, laziness, or else be prepared to surrender all that you have won in your better moments.
  • An ingenious theory has arisen regarding the catapultic bat of Babe Ruth, which may explain how it is possible this early in the season for a batter to pile up twenty-three home runs. It seems Babe is a human being built on colossal proportions and that he is not overly fond of running bases at the fast and furious gait of his contemporary, Ty Cobb. To save his lumbering body the effort, therefore, he hits the ball over the fence and makes the circuit of the four bases at his leisure. That is as satisfactory an explanation as any other. The ways of laziness are indeed clever. Some there are who contend that most of the labor-saving devices that have revolutionized modern industries have sprung from the fertile brains, set in inactive bodies, of lazy men. Constructive laziness is, according to that school of thinking, a boon to humanity and a blazer of progress. Ruth, finding base-running inconvenient, devises a means of overcoming it and is hailed as the home run king of the world, admired of thousands and becomes the recipient of fat pay checks at whose figures the merely industrious man gasps.
    • Louisville Courier-Journal, unsigned editorial published the day after Babe Ruth had, for the second straight day, homered into the Polo Grounds' never-before-reached centerfield bleachers, "Lazy Babe Ruth" (June 15, 1921), p.4
  • People standing on escalators And that is a testimony to human laziness!  I mean, the guy who invented the escalator is just, probably, kicking himself in the ass.  Do you think the guy made the escalator so people—and they're made like stairs—just so people stand on it so you go up and down?  You're supposed to walk on 'em so you get there faster.  You know?  And then people stand on there.  So every time I'm on an escalator, I'm just like, "Excuse me, pardon me, excuse me, pardon me…."  You know?  That's my pet peeve, right there.  And I'm gonna do something about it, and I'm urging you to do something about it!  Write your congressman, get a group together, get together, and—I think we can do something about this.
  • The greater part of humanity is too much harassed and fatigued by the struggle with want, to rally itself for a new and sterner struggle with error. Satisfied if they themselves can escape from the hard labour of thought, they willingly abandon to others the guardianship of their thoughts.
  • There is no such thing as a lazy person; he is either sick or uninspired.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
  • Indolence is the worst enemy that the church has to encounter. Men sleep around her altar, stretching themselves on beds of ease, or sit idly with folded hands looking lazily out on fields white for the harvest, but where no sickle rings against the wheat.
  • The passive idler of all men in the world is the most difficult to please. Those who do the least themselves are always the severest critics upon the noble achievements of others.
  • The idle man is the devil's cushion.
  • If you are idle, you are on the road to ruin; and there are few stopping places upon it. It is rather a precipice than a road.
  • Idleness is the great corrupter of youth, and the bane and dishonor of middle age. He who, in the prime of life, finds time to hang heavy on his hands, may with much reason suspect that he has not consulted the duties which the consideration of his age imposed upon him; assuredly he has not consulted his happiness.
  • An idle man has a constant tendency to torpidity. He has adopted the Indian maxim — that it is better to walk than to run, and better to stand than to walk, and better to sit than to stand, and better to lie than to sit. He hugs himself into the notion, that God calls him to be quiet.
  • Some temptations come to the industrious, but all temptations attack the idle.
  • Be always employed about some rational thing that the devil find thee not idle.
  • A good many people are complaining all the time about themselves, and crying out, "My leanness! my leanness!" when they ought rather to say, " My laziness! my laziness!"
  • I am not the only one that condemns the idle; for once when I was going to give our minister a pretty long list of the sins of one of our people that he was asking after, I began with, "He's dreadfully lazy." "That's enough," said the old gentleman; " all sorts of sins are in that one."
  • The worst idleness is that of the heart. Think of the condition and prospects of a voiceless, thankless, prayerless heart.
  • When you and I are inclined to nestle down in indolence and self-indulgence, God " stirs up our nests;" and bids us fly upward.
  • The only cure for indolence is work; the only cure for selfishness is sacrifice; the only cure for unbelief is to shake off the ague of doubt, by doing Christ's bidding; the only cure for timidity is to plunge into some dreaded duty before the chill comes on.

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