Printable Version
Pronunciation: mê-s-ê-tyud Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)

Meaning: Extreme slowness, as slow as molasses on a cold winter's morn.

Notes: There is good reason we hear this word so seldom. Though most people see molasses in this word, it is completely unrelated (see Word History). The adjective for this word is molassitudinal and the adverb, molassitudinally.

In Play: When slowness simply does not express the lack of speed of something, go with molassitude: "Will Dolittle moves with such molassitude, he'll never get the job done." You will find it very useful around the office: "Gladys Friday was fired because of her attitude toward the job, constant late arrivals, and for her overall molassitude."

Word History: This special day's Good Word was originally a compound, comprising mo "more" + lassi- "looseness, extreme laid-backness, relaxed" + -tude, a common noun suffix. It originated in the Gullah dialect of English with the meaning "mo(re) lassitude". It slowly evolved into simply "extreme slowness". Lassi- is a commonization of Lassie, the name of the loose, laid back dog who starred in movies and on TV back in the 50s and 60s. Mo- is a reduction of more which comes from the PIE root me-/mo- "big, great", also the origin of English me and mine. (Our gratitude for today's extremely topical word is due Miss April Phule, owner of April Phule's Child Day Care Center and Quick Stop Diner here in New Monia, Pennsylvania. For all our non-U.S. subscribers, April 1 is a traditional special day in the US; check Google.)

Dr. Goodword,

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