Word of the Day : August 27, 2019

desuetude

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noun DESS-wih-tood

What It Means

: discontinuance from use or exercise : disuse

Examples

The old bridge, which fell into desuetude after the railroad was shut down, has recently been opened as a pedestrian walkway.

"It has been 15 years since Mr. Klein and his partners paid $18 million for the Sunset Tower, a faded Art Deco relic on a stretch of Sunset Strip that, although now booming, had fallen into funky desuetude. Against most odds and all prevailing wisdom, he soon established it and its Tower Bar restaurant as essential landmarks of the new Hollywood." — Guy Trebay, The New York Times, 23 Feb. 2019


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 become accustomed" (suescere also gave us the word custom). Disuse descends from uti, which means "to use." (That Latin word also gave us use and utility.) Although less 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."



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