the state of being dull; lethargy.
Hebetude comes straight from the Late Latin noun hebetūdō, a derivative of the adjective hebes (inflectional stem hebet-) “blunt, dull (physical or mental), obtuse (angle or person).” Hebetūdō first appears in the Commentary on the “Dream of Scipio” (ca. a.d. 430) by the pagan author Macrobius. Macrobius’ Commentary was so popular and influential in late antiquity and the Middle Ages and so important and invaluable a source for Neoplatonic philosophy that its numerous manuscripts cannot be sorted into families. Hebes has no known etymology; scholars cannot even blame hebes on the Etruscans (their usual go-to for strange Latin words). Hebetude entered English in the first half of the 17th century.
Why did I take up Latin at this late age? I did so not only to fight off hebetude but also to avoid becoming my mother.
Urban hebetude, he discovers, can be cured at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.
the doing of good; active goodness or kindness; charity.
Beneficence “active goodness or kindness; charity,” comes via French bénéficence from Latin beneficentia “kindness, kind treatment of others,” a derivative of the adjective beneficus “generous, liberal, kind.” Beneficus is a compound composed of the adverb and prefix bene, bene– “well,” a derivative of the adjective bonus “good” (and completely naturalized in English), and the combining form –ficus (English –fic) “making, producing” (as in honorific, pacific) a derivative of the all-purpose, overworked verb facere “to do, make, construct.” Beneficence entered English in the early 15th century.
My general misery was alleviated by what felt like a measure of Victorian beneficence: I had the run of the house’s library.
Better still would be the inculcation into all our moral considerations of beneficence as an internal good rather than an ethical calculation. Be good for goodness’ sake.
having important effects or results.
Consequential “following as an effect or result; having important effects or results; self-important, pompous” is a derivation of consequence, from Latin consequentia “succession, sequence (of events), logical or necessary sequence,” ultimately a derivative of the verb consequī “to come or go after, follow, attend,” a compound of the prefix con-, a variant of com– “together, with,” and the simple verb sequī “to follow.” The sense “self-important, pompous” does not exist in Latin; it developed within English in the mid-18th century. Consequential entered English in the first half of the 17th century. Dictionary.com’s Word of the Year for 2020 is a consequential word for a consequential year. Think you know what it is? Find out!
The world is changed forever: No matter how deeply affected you are—medically, financially, emotionally, or otherwise—there is no going back. But the decisions we make about how to proceed now are extremely consequential, and the potential outcomes before us are vastly different.
But in the middle of a pandemic, the most consequential of disaster decisions become complicated by fears of contagion.
extending back beyond memory, record, or knowledge.
Immemorial “extending back beyond memory or knowledge” ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin adjective immemoriālis, equivalent to the Latin negative or privative prefix im-, a variant of –in, and (liber) memoriālis “record (book).” Immemorial entered English in the early 17th century.
Practical foresters contend and can demonstrate that from time immemorial fire has been the salvation and preservation of our California sugar and white pine forests.
Perhaps the most esoteric of the European minority nations is the nation of Wales, Cymru in Welsh, which lives in the flank of England cherishing its own immemorial culture, squabbling and demanding more independence from the United Kingdom.
a fussy or needlessly fault-finding person.
Fussbudget “one who is fussy or needlessly faultfinding” is a transparent compound of the nouns fuss “bustle, commotion” and budget “itemized list of funds or expenses.” The word entered English in the early 20th century; it became associated with the character Lucy Van Pelt in the comic strip Peanuts in the 1960s.
He was a fussbudget. His interest in ideas didn’t match his interest in small, and often silly, facts. Much of the time he saw neither the forest nor the trees but only a bit of the undergrowth.
“Friends,” the ever-popular television comedy, has already directed the action away from Chandler, the fussbudget, and Ross, the whiny paleontologist, to Joey of the big biceps and unambiguous urges.
the principle of living a balanced, moderately paced, low-fuss life.
The uncommon English noun lagom “the principle of living a balanced, moderate life” comes from Swedish lagom, a fossil noun form in the dative plural used as an adverb meaning “just right, just the thing,” literally “according to custom or common sense.” Lagom comes from an unattested Old Norse plural neuter noun lagu “what is laid down,” which in Old Icelandic becomes lǫg “law, laws.” The Old Norse neuter plural noun lagu was taken into late Old English as a feminine singular noun lagu by the year 1000, becoming lawe in Middle English, and law in English. Lagom entered English in the mid-1930s.
In the bigger picture, the balance of lagom goes way beyond emotional wellbeing and interior design to become all about belonging and shared responsibility—not just fitting in, but being part of a greater entity.
Many of the rituals, recipes and decoration ideas that filled out last year’s mountain of hygge books would fall outside the lagom threshold. To Swedes, they’d seem fussy, a bit much.
freely bestowed; plentiful; abundant.
Bounteous comes from Middle English bountevous, bounteuous, bontivous (and other variant spellings) “good, worthy, virtuous; knightly, valiant; generous, liberal,” from Old French bontieus, bontif (masculine), bontive (feminine) “benevolent, full of goodness, from Old French bonté, bontet (source of Middle English bounte, English bounty “generosity, generous gift”), from Latin bonitās (stem bonitāt-) “goodness, excellence.” The spelling bounteous arose in the early 15th century as if the etymology were bounte plus the adjective suffix –ous. Bounteous entered English in the second half of the 14th century.
Let’s not give up on pies. Usually, there’s a lush and sweet array—a loud hurrah to end the bounteous feast.
Mesmerized by the bounteous displays of freshly harvested produce, artisanal breads, and locally raised meats, I salivated with greedy glee, thinking of the market-inspired menus I could prepare if I moved here.