This word has roots that mean “without blood.”
People with anemia have a shortage of blood, so they’re pale and weak.
Strictly speaking, anemic people are those who suffer from anemia: they’re low on blood, and so they lack energy and color in their skin.
And more loosely speaking, anemic things and people seem to be low on blood because they’re low on energy, or weak in body or spirit.
uh NEE mick
Part of speech:
Adjective: “this anemic praise,” “an anemic effort.”
How to use it:
With its medical tone, the word “anemic” can make your somewhat insulting assessment of something sound clinical and detached.
Talk about anemic colors and tones; anemic people and personalities; anemic efforts and attempts; anemic abilities and capacities; anemic statements and responses; anemic pay, earnings, growth, numbers, turnouts, successes, and improvements; anemic businesses, industries, and economies; and even anemic abstractions, like anemic justice, prestige, authority, etc.
After you’ve snacked on the Flavor-Blasted Goldfish, you can’t go back to the original ones; their flavor is anemic.
“‘We believe Miami is and should be a 365-day-a-year art town, not a five-day-a-year art town,’ he said, addressing criticism that local art activity is anemic outside of the annual Art Basel fair.”
— Brett Sokol, New York Times, 4 March 2019