sed·​u·​lous ˈse-jə-ləs How to pronounce sedulous (audio)
: involving or accomplished with careful perseverance
sedulous craftsmanship
: diligent in application or pursuit
a sedulous student
sedulously adverb
sedulousness noun

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Dedicate Yourself to Learning the History of Sedulous

No fooling—the word sedulous ultimately comes from Latin se dolus, which literally means "without guile." Those two words were eventually melded into one, sedulo, meaning "sincerely" or "diligently," and from that root developed Latin sedulus and English sedulous. Don't let the sed- beginning mislead you; sedulous is not related to words such as sedentary or sedate (those derive from the Latin verb sedēre, meaning "to sit"). Sedulous people are not the sedate or sedentary sort. They're the hardworking types Scottish author Samuel Smiles must have had in mind when he wrote in his 1859 book Self-Help, "Sedulous attention and painstaking industry always mark the true worker."

Choose the Right Synonym for sedulous

busy, industrious, diligent, assiduous, sedulous mean actively engaged or occupied.

busy chiefly stresses activity as opposed to idleness or leisure.

too busy to spend time with the children

industrious implies characteristic or habitual devotion to work.

industrious employees

diligent suggests earnest application to some specific object or pursuit.

very diligent in her pursuit of a degree

assiduous stresses careful and unremitting application.

assiduous practice

sedulous implies painstaking and persevering application.

a sedulous investigation of the murder

Examples of sedulous in a Sentence

an impressively sedulous suitor, he was constantly sending her flowers and other tokens of his affection
Recent Examples on the Web Putting festivals like this on stage is clearly just one part of the slow, sedulous work of relationship building and repair. Jeremy Eichler,, 10 Mar. 2023 Among the advantages that billionaires receive due to their wealth is sedulous defenses by journalists and other camp followers. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 16 Dec. 2022 The wrong calls on the Truss program reflected a knee-jerk impulse of supply-siders to react to anything even remotely resembling the policies of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan with sedulous adoration. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 24 Oct. 2022 Led by Martin Amis, their ranks included Julian Barnes, Salman Rushdie—and a sedulous outlier named A.N. Wilson. Brenda Cronin, WSJ, 28 Oct. 2022 Manchin has been a sedulous supporter of the fossil fuel industry. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 16 Mar. 2022 The skirmish over Arista was the second great battle of Clive’s life, as a sedulous Vanity Fair account of the affair put it. Amy X. Wang, Rolling Stone, 9 Sep. 2021 One might be tempted to defend this sedulous cultivation of Tom Barrack by Bloomberg and Charlie Rose by asserting that no one on the outside could know the truth of what was going on inside Trump’s brain or the Middle East at the time. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 21 July 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sedulous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin sedulus, from sedulo sincerely, diligently, from sed-, se without + dolus guile — more at suicide

First Known Use

1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sedulous was in 1540


Dictionary Entries Near sedulous

Cite this Entry

“Sedulous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


sed·​u·​lous ˈsej-ə-ləs How to pronounce sedulous (audio)
: steadily industrious : diligent
sedulously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on sedulous

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