Once again, we'll take our theme from the divine lady of letters.
superannuated – 1. ineffective, or sent out to pasture, because of old age. 2. outmoded; obsolete.
– Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, ch. 2
The unreliability of the superannuated helicopters has become a byword in Canada and they should have been replaced years ago.
– Janes, Canada struggles to define military role, Feb. 21, 2005
A nap, my friend, is a brief period of sleep which overtakes superannuated persons when they endeavor to entertain unwelcome visitors or to listen to scientific lectures.
– George Bernard Shaw
"Ineffective, outmoded, obsolete, sent out to pasture."
UK term "superannuation fund" carries a sadder, more worn-out feel than the comparable US terms "pension" or "retired."
That is unfortunate, given the Roman wisdom: "Ad triarios redisse."
Today, I will end with two questions, seeking reader input.
sedulous – showing dedication and diligence. (noun: sedulity)
(negative connotation? see questions below)
- Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, ch. 34
With all of our sedulous care in training supple young minds, I wonder if much of College training doesn't ossify the brain rather than flex it to its fullest potential.
- Arlen Collier National Forum, Fall 1996
America's educated classes in general being notorious worldwide for their sedulous conformity to whatever norm comes into fashion.
- Richard Grenier, Insight on the News, July 3, 1995
ossify (trans. or intrans.) – to make into bone; hence, to cease developing, and become rigidly set in in conventional patterns
assiduous – working with constant, persistent attention; unremitting
Questions; can readers help?
1) To me the word sedulous carries a strong negative sense, as quoted above, but I can't put my finger on it. Help!
2) What's the difference between sedulous and assiduous?
. . .Ms. Dot Wordsworth (apt name!) asks that question in The Spectator and, admitting that she cannot give an answer, enjoyably tells of the words' interesting histories.
Well, "sedulous" screams "seditious" to the ear.
Not a bad thing I suppose, if you are in diehard opposition.
1540, from L. sedulus "attentive, painstaking," probably from sedulo (adv.) "sincerely, diligently," from sedolo "without deception or guile," from se- "without, apart" (see secret) + dolo, ablative of dolus "deception, guile," cognate with Gk. dolos.
1538, from L. assiduus "busy, incessant, continual, constant," from assidere "to sit down to," thus "constantly occupied" at one's work (see assess). The word acquired a taint of "servility" in 18c. (op. cit.)
SO the contrast is between "guileless dutifulness" and somewhat less noble "beavering away."
>strong negative sense
I don't entirely agree; sedulous merely adds a more persistent shading, which is of itself neutral. Having said that, persistance is not always a good thing! : )
I agree with tsuwm; I certainly wouldn't see a negative connotation in sedulous. In fact, if forced to choose between negative or positive, I'd say it has a positive connotation.
Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
Oh yeah, Arnie?
Then what about the Alien and Sedulous Act of 1798? http://earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestones/sedition/
Or the US Sedulous Act of 1918?
puppyism – extreme meanness, affectation, conceit, or impudence
On the torture of waiting in line behind a slow, fussy customer:
. . . .At last the affair was decided. The ivory, the gold, and the pearls, all received their appointment, and the gentleman having named the last day on which his existence could be continued without the possession of the toothpick–case, drew on his gloves with leisurely care …
- Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, ch. 33
self-consequence – self-importance; an exaggerated estimate of one's own importance
– Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, ch. 9
As you may have noticed, our Austen quotes this week feature her deft skewering of her characters' foibles.
importunate – pesteringly urgent and overly pressing in request (as a pushy beggar)
[importune – to harass with persistent requests; (also; to offer one’s services as a prostitute)]
– Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, ch. 21
Follow up: Joe, a reader, comments on the word sedulous. He notes that a significant fraction of its Google hits also include the word 'devil', and he states, "I think that sedulous is often linked to the Devil/Satan, in the notion that evil is always working to triumph. I think from there it is linked by its similarity to seduction (a word that has some negative connotations as well). I remember that I thought it meant the movement of a snake for the longest time."This message has been edited. Last edited by: wordcrafter,
Today's word seems to be Jane Austen's own coinage. Her word would be very useful, but almost no one has used it (except in a different sense, a movement in poetry and architecture), so I must provide a definition.
imaginist – one who lives in a world created by his or her active imagination
– Jane Austen, Emma, ch. 21
Florida has always bred good writers, but not many write of dragons and centaurs and alternate worlds. Except for Piers Anthony. Decades ago, the millionaire imaginist mixed his love of Florida with a bit of magic and came up with the kingdom of Xanth, a place where dreams are real and non-Xanth citizens (read: you) live in a land called Mundania (read: mundane).
– Adrienne P. Samuels, Hillsborough County Times, Feb. 9, 2005
Just the omission of Jane Austen's books alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn't a book in it.
US humorist, novelist, short story author, & wit (1835 - 1910)
Oops! Sorry for the couple days' delay; we'll catch up. Nice irony in today's quotation.
tremulous - shaking slightly, quivering, as with nervousness, timidity, or excitement
– Jane Austen, Persuasion, ch. 11