desuetude

noun
de·sue·tude | \ˈde-swi-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd, di-ˈsü-ə-, -ˈsyü- \

Definition of desuetude 

: discontinuance from use or exercise : disuse

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for desuetude

Synonyms

disuse, idleness, inactivity

Antonyms

use

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?

Desuetude must be closely related to "disuse," right? Wrong. Despite the similarities between them, "desuetude" and "disuse" derive from two different Latin verbs. Desuetude comes from "suescere," a word that means "to accustom" (it also gave us the word custom). "Disuse" descends from "uti," which means "to use" (that Latin word also gave us "use" and "utility"). Of the two, "disuse" is now the more common. "Desuetude" hasn't fallen into desuetude yet, and it was put to good use in the past, as in the 17th-century writings of Scottish Quaker Robert Barclay, who wrote, "The weighty Truths of God were neglected, and, as it were, went into Desuetude."

Examples of desuetude in a Sentence

despite the long years of desuetude, the old manual typewriter seemed to work just fine

Recent Examples on the Web

This Customs guidance has gone entirely unenforced for decades, but it was reissued — perhaps to keep it from desuetude — by the Obama administration in its final years. Eugene Kontorovich, Washington Post, "Canada corrects its ‘Made in Israel’ policy. Now it is time for the U.S. to do the same.," 17 July 2017 Glenn Close returns to the role of Norma Desmond in the 1993 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, based on Billy Wilder’s classic portrait of Hollywood desuetude. The New Yorker, "Sunset Boulevard," 9 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'desuetude.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of desuetude

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for desuetude

Middle English dissuetude, from Latin desuetudo, from desuescere to become unaccustomed, from de- + suescere to become accustomed; akin to Latin sodalis comrade — more at sib

Latin desuetudo disuse, from desuescere to lose the habit of

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about desuetude

Listen to Our Podcast about desuetude

Statistics for desuetude

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for desuetude

The first known use of desuetude was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for desuetude

desuetude

noun
de·sue·tude | \ˈde-swi-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd; di-ˈsü-ə-ˌtüd \

Legal Definition of desuetude 

: a doctrine holding that a statute may be abrogated because of its long disuse

More from Merriam-Webster on desuetude

See words that rhyme with desuetude

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for desuetude

Comments on desuetude

What made you want to look up desuetude? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not any or not one

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!