Definition of desuetude
: discontinuance from use or exercise : disuse
desuetude was our Word of the Day on 12/16/2007. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of desuetude in a Sentence
despite the long years of desuetude, the old manual typewriter seemed to work just fine
Recent Examples of desuetude from the Web
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.
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.
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."
Legal Definition of desuetude
: a doctrine holding that a statute may be abrogated because of its long disuse
Origin and Etymology of desuetude
Latin desuetudo disuse, from desuescere to lose the habit of
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up desuetude? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).