Printable Version
Pronunciation: in-di--ti-gê-bêl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Utterly tireless, persisting tirelessly, unflagging, incapable of growing weary.

Notes: This adjective has an adverb, indefatigably and a noun indefatigability. It does not originate with defatigable, a modern jocular back-formation from indefatigable.

In Play: The shortest definition of today's word is "utterly tireless": "Noah Zarque is indefatigable when it comes to talking about grandchildren." Again: "Our current president is an indefatigable twitterer." But "play" implies fun, so let's not forget the back-derivation: "At 80 years of age, I'm fatigable at about everything."

Word History: Today's Good Word was filched from French indefatigable, inherited from Latin indefatigabilis "that cannot be wearied". This word comprises in- "not" + defatigare "to tire out", a verb which breaks down into de- "utterly, down, away" + fatigare "to weary, tire". The ultimate root of today's Good Word was originally a compound consisting of fati- "break, crack, split" + agere "to move, drive, set in motion". Where fati- comes from is anyone's guess, though we see it in fatisci "to crack, split". Agere, on the other hand, comes from PIE ag- "to drive, move", found Greek agein "to lead, guide", which produced agogos "leader", and Sanskrit ajati "drives". The past participle of Latin agere is actus "a doing, performance", source of Englihs act. (Today's Good Word was recommended by our old friend, the indefatigable Grand Panjandrum of the Agora, Perry Lassiter.)

Dr. Goodword,

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