desuetude

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

Definition of desuetude

  1. :  discontinuance from use or exercise :  disuse

desuetude was our Word of the Day on 12/16/2007. Hear the podcast!

Examples of desuetude in a Sentence

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

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."

Origin and Etymology of 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


First Known Use: 15th century


Law Dictionary

desuetude

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

Legal Definition of desuetude

  1. :  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



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