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I want to know if there is a word in English with a similar meaning to "lazy". I don't want it to sound like that person is always lazy. For example, I can say:

I wanted to X, but I was too lazy to [do] Y (which is required for X) at this moment

It is possible that person is lazy, but maybe he just had too many things to do that day, or maybe he was tired, etc. In my opinion, "lazy" can have pejorative meaning, and I don't want that. In my language, you can just say

I should do the dishes, but [word I want] (me) right now.

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    It might help if you mentioned what that word is in your language. I think "lazy" is probably still the word you should use. Unless you mean "sleepy, tired, weary"
    – James K
    Nov 24, 2022 at 22:34
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    I'm afraid that you are right @JamesK. But I still wanted to check. I'm from Serbia so I don't think that lot of people from my country use this site (they either know english, or don't know for SE). Word is mrzi me similar to (I) hate it Nov 24, 2022 at 22:39
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    By the way, it should be, "I should do the dishes". And the question should be, "Is there a word for feeling lazy?", though in newspaper-headline style you could say, "Word for feeling lazy?". Hope this is helpful. Nov 25, 2022 at 15:37
  • note that you would likely say "... but I was feeling too lazy just then ...". note also that very often you would simply say "... but i was too tired just then ..."
    – Fattie
    Nov 25, 2022 at 15:44
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    I think feeling lazy has the connotations you want. The word "feeling" implies that it is a temporary condition and not your permanent character.
    – David K
    Nov 27, 2022 at 20:53

11 Answers 11

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"Lazy" is the word to use. You can use "lazy" in different ways, one way is to describe the characteristics of a person

He is lazy and he never does the dishes.

But you can also use it to mean "I'm acting lazy now". Context would imply that:

I'm too lazy to do the dishes, right now, I'll do them tomorrow morning.

is this meaning. The context suggests that the person is being "self-deprecating" and a little ironic. The speaker isn't saying that they are always lazy.

It is possible that you mean "tired", which is possible, or perhaps "sleepy", "weary", or "lackadaisical"

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  • Lackadaisical is a new word for me, thank you for your answer. Like I thought, lazy is the word I need, but I'm now more convinced than few minutes ago. Nov 24, 2022 at 23:00
  • I'm not sure if the second point is exactly correct. If I say "I'm too lazy to do the dishes." That is like saying "I'm too short to do the high jump." IMO this is quite different from saying "I'm too sunburned to go outside" or "I'm too full to eat any more."
    – Fattie
    Nov 25, 2022 at 15:42
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Lethargic feels like a good fit to me.

"affected by lethargy; sluggish and apathetic"

Feeling slow, no get up and go, lost your mojo. Not necessarily lazy nor actually tired, just insufficiently bothered to get on with the task.

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I would suggest the negative don't feel like.

While gotube's answer may be correct for American English, in British English one would say:

I should do the dishes, but I don't feel like doing them right now.

as pointed out in Peter's coment.

Also note that I would say "do the dishes", not "do dishes" - as already noted in Nigel's comment. Without the "the" it just sounds totally wrong, at least in British English1.

Another example, with an optional just for emphasis:

I wanted to do X, but I [just] didn't feel like it.


At the risk of going off-topic, but it is worth mentioning that (obviously), the positive feel like can be used for the opposite situation where one is eager to do something, or eat a particular dish:

I feel like doing the dishes

I feel like playing Pacman

I feel like eating/having some fish and chips

Note that the "eating" (or "having") can be, and often is, omitted - like so:

I feel like some fish and chips


1 The OP's original edit omitted the "the" - this has now been corrected.

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You could say

I should do dishes, but I can't be bothered right now

This is quite a neutral way of saying it. It's a slightly "older" way to say it than "I'm not feeling it."

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    Certainly a valid use but it can carry a pejorative meaning as well: "... but you couldn't be bothered, could you!?" would be used to chide somebody who really should have done something. Nov 25, 2022 at 12:29
  • This is a great, natural option if your audience is British; on the other hand, "I can't be bothered to do X" is virtually unused in American English. You'll be understood, but it sounds foreign, or like an intentional, playful Briticism 😄
    – bertday
    Nov 26, 2022 at 21:51
  • It's a very common phrase in en_AU too.
    – Kingsley
    Nov 28, 2022 at 1:50
  • I'm speaking en_AU ;)
    – Nic
    Dec 14, 2022 at 3:17
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I should do dishes, but I'm (just) not feeling it right now.

This is an informal expression that means that now doesn't feel like the right time for something, in a vague way. It describes not a lack of motivation or conscientiousness, but a self-awareness and respect for your own feelings about certain actions. It's not a pejorative.

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  • I totally forgot about this. It is not a single word, but it can be used in the way I mentioned in question. It's not ideal in all cases, but satisfies everything I mentioned in question. Nov 24, 2022 at 23:40
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    I'd always say "... but I don't feel like it right now." The references I can find, e.g. in the Urban Dictionary, also include "like". Do you have references for this meaning of feel without "like"? "Feel it" without like has different meanings (empathy, malice etc.). Nov 25, 2022 at 12:36
  • @Peter-ReinstateMonica I didn't find any authoritative definitions. There's thefreedictionary.com, but that's only half a step above urbandictionary and they forgot "not" in their first example sentence. Otherwise, there's just lots of attestations on Google and in Google Books that fit my definition. My feeling is that it's an AmE thing, but I'm not confident.
    – gotube
    Nov 25, 2022 at 18:05
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    I would only use this in limited situations. To me it's generational and informal almost to the point of being slang. As a millennial in high school I said this a lot with friends — "yeah I dunno, I'm not feelin' it". I think we got that from hip-hop 😄 I generally wouldn't use this with someone who wasn't around my age (mid-30s) or younger. By default I would use "I don't feel like (doing) it", as @Peter-ReinstateMonica suggested.
    – bertday
    Nov 26, 2022 at 22:03
  • I think "not feeling it" is usually used for matters of taste rather than motivation. If you use that phrase to describe a lack of motivation, I would be able to guess what you meant from context, but it would also inject a certain type of humor into your statement.
    – David K
    Nov 27, 2022 at 20:51
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I'm really surprised at all the other answers here, trying to avoid "lazy" entirely.

People very often say exactly what you said: "I am feeling lazy", meaning exactly what you proposed. If I say "I am feeling lazy, I don't want to do dishes", that does not mean I am inherently lazy! But it does mean that I am currently being lazy, and I am acknowledging it.

This is a completely valid and common thing to say in American English.

Perhaps the source of your laziness is ennui, or lack of motivation ("feeling unmotivated"), or fatigue/lethargy ("feeling tired"), or some other reason. But the actual answer to the question is that "I am feeling lazy" is itself the best way to express this concept.

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    First answer (@JamesK) suggested using lazy, so people who came later focused on other possible words and phrases. Other than that I find your answer useful. Nov 27, 2022 at 9:47
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One option is to say:

I should do dishes, but I don't have the energy right now.

If you say this, then you're saying that you're too tired, or you have been very busy, or something like that.

In my opinion, the phrase "don't have the energy" isn't pejorative at all. On the other hand, phrases like "feeling too lazy" and "can't be bothered" sound somewhat negative.

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You are feeling lackadaisical

https://www.britannica.com/dictionary/lackadaisical:

lackadaisical /ˌlækəˈdeɪzɪkəl/ adjective [more lackadaisical; most lackadaisical] : feeling or showing a lack of interest or enthusiasm

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In the movie The French Dispatch, there is a fictional town named Ennui-sur-Blasé, combining two loan words that are considered part of English, from French:

  • Ennui is a feeling of listlessness arising from doing nothing. It is like laziness along with a bit of depression, I would say.

  • Blasé, less like lazy, is a state of being unimpressed.

These words are not frequently used in English, but are still a well-established part of the language. Another less common word is:

  • langour, a state of tiredness akin to emotional exhaustion.

One might also experience

  • torpitude or indolence, either of which is a sense of simply not wanting to do anything.

Most of these would have been called five-dollar words by Mark Twain, meaning we're kind of showing off with language — not always the best thing to do.

To be friendlier to a reader and writer, we could instead use some easier phrases:

  • I'm not up for it right now; I haven't got the energy.
  • I'm taking it easy; I could do it, but don't want to right now.
  • If you want to sound a bit British you could say I'm knackered, tired.
  • If you want to sound a bit old-school rustic American, you could say you're plumb tuckered, completely out of energy.
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  • +1 for Ennui. That was my initial thought, when I saw the question, but felt that it might be wrong to suggest it on an English learning site. Nov 26, 2022 at 22:28
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In American English, there are a few ways I might say this in everyday conversation.

If it doesn't interest you or you generally don't want to do it...

I should do X, but I don't feel like it.

If you're lacking energy or motivation...

I should do X, but I'm not feeling up to it.

If you're really tired or not feeling well...

I should do X, but I don't have it in me.

Also, per your example, a few here have said you should say do the dishes vs. do dishes. In American English you could say either. Both of these are perfectly fine:

I worked so late last night, I didn't feel like doing (the) dishes.

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One thing that struck me is that somebody who has too many other tings to do already isn't really that lazy, are they? One word to describe that state which is about the opposite of lazy is preoccupied. The word can be taken literally (i.e., one is already occupied with something else) but usually also describes a state of mind: Being mentally absorbed by something else.

That state is typically, as you requested, transient: Once the other things are done there will be time and attention available for the new task.

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