A weblog by Will Fitzgerald

Word of the day: desultory

Acccording to the AHD:

Desultory suggests a shifting about from one thing to another that reflects a lack of method: a desultory conversation.

Pronounced: deSULtory. This is one of those words I thought I knew, but I didn’t when I actually looked it up. It’s a good word to describe this weblog.

The origins are described thusly:

[Origin: 1575–85; < L désultōrius pertaining to a désultor (a circus rider who jumps from one horse to another), equiv. to désul-, var. s. of désilīre to jump down (dé- de- + -silīre, comb. form of salīre to leap) + -tōrius -tory1]

I dunno. That seems just too good a story to be true.


2 responses to “Word of the day: desultory

  1. Inder October 18, 2007 at 1:37 am

    More GRE words! And I always thought desultory meant “sulky.” I don’t know why I thought that. I really need to start looking words up. As you know, I often can’t put my finger on the right word, or I firmly put my finger on the wrong word.

    Speaking of words, and following up on our conversation: yes, indeed, Monster Park (nee Candlestick Park) is named after Candlestick point, an area of landfill originally intended to be a shipyard but abandoned. The peninsula is shaped like a candle with a flame. Check out this map – you have to zoom in a little to see the peninsula:


  2. john voss November 16, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    i recently used this word with your pronunciation(deSULtory) and had my butt handed to me by my friend’s attorney wife who downloaded the more common DESulTOry version and handed the page victoriously to me (which i left on the table,not quite sure if I was supposed to take it with me.) I incorrectly defined it as meaning “not caring.”

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