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Podcast oscitancy

Printable Version Pronunciation: ah-sê-dên-si Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A fit of yawning. 2. The drowsiness, slowness, laziness or indolence caused by fatigue or need for sleep.

Notes: This word is the noun from the adjective oscitant "yawning, drowsy, sluggish", itself based on the seldom used verb oscitate "to yawn or gape open". Don't forget to change the Y to I before the plural ending: oscitancies.

In Play: Oscitancy is usually accompanied by a previous Good Word, pandiculation, stretching from sleepiness: "Mortimer talked a half hour about the advantages of eating raw seeds and vegetables to a sea of oscitancy and pandiculation." However, this word is probably more often used in reference to sluggishness or dullness resembling that of sleepiness: "Jacob seems a bit more oscitant to finish cleaning the garage than he was to start the job."

Word History: Today's word comes from the present participle, oscitan(t)s, of the Latin verb oscitare "to yawn, open, gape", made up of os "mouth" + citare "to move". The root of citare, cit-, is shared with the hest of English behest (old [k] became [h] in Germanic languages like English). (We never oscitate at the words suggested by Luciano de Oliveira, one of the editors of the Good Word series, because his suggestions are always intriguing.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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