Though these days the term wordmonger refers to "a writer or speaker who uses language pretentiously or carelessly," please join me in proposing a new meaning. A fishmonger appreciates and promotes fish, therefore, a wordmonger does the same for words.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Celebration of Slothfulness

A Celebration of Slothfulness

Ah, slothfulness.
Lazing about doing nothing useful.
Nothing like it.

Some good folks published an entire dictionary about it in 2011. Sloth - A Dictionary for the Lazy, is a part of Adams Media’s The Deadly Dictionaries series. This particular volume defines 154 pages worth of lazy-related words, interspersed with sloth-related quotations. Here are some highlights:

aposiopesis – noun – (1570s) the state one is in when one stops speaking mid-sentence, either due to the inability to finish the thought, or sheer stubbornness.

fainéant – noun – (1610) a lazy person or slacker. Also an adjective to describe such a person.

hebetude – noun – (1620s) state of laziness or indolence.

looby – noun – (1377) an awkward, lazy person or lout.

shilly-shally – verb – (1703) to vacillate or be indecisive, to dawdle or waste time.

somniferous – adjective – (1600) having the ability to cause sleepiness.

sponger – noun – (1670s) one who allows others to provide all his/her needs, a freeloader.

troglodyte – noun – (1550s) though this term was originally used to label prehistoric cave-dweller, it is now used pejoratively toward an uncouth, unmannered, or unmotivated individual.

wastrel – noun – (1847) an insulting word used to label a person who is wasteful or lazy.

weltschmerz – noun – (1875) the state of being world-weary, pessimistic or apathetic.

Followers, what slothful words do you appreciate?

My thanks go out to this week’s sources the OED, Sloth – A Dictionary for the Lazy, & Etymonline,


  1. This sure is weather for hebetude. I think I'll sign up to be a faineant! Fun words--and a number are totally new to me. Thanks!

    1. Hi Anne,
      Thanks so much. I'm feeling a bit hebetudinous myself. In fact, it's my state of loobinosity that inspired this post.

  2. All those times I've stopped speaking mid-sentence...I was experiencing aposiopesis. Who knew! And since I get to choose, I think I will choose sheer stubbornness as the reason. Not my slowly dying brain cells. I've never heard most of these wonderful words. I want to use them in non-hebetudeinous sentences!

    1. Hey Christine,
      I completely understa....
      Aposiopesis-afflicted Unite!