Thursday, May 04, 2006


The Hard Word

Courtesy of a subscription to and being the holder of a curious and quzzical ear for sounds as well as a weakness for wordy grandstanding, I have come across the word 'Cunctation' a word until now I never knew existed.

It looks and indeed sounds like a rather lewd sibling of punk and cunt both rude in the case of the first and top dog in word shockery in the case of the second. Cunctation is actually perfectly decent. It comes from the Latin "cunctari," which means"to hesitate." There are the adjectives too "cunctatory," "cunctatious," and"cunctative" ("tending to delay"), and the noun "cunctator" ("one who delays") goes on to say that " although "cunctation" has been around for over 400 years, (it is) pretty rare, but that's not to say that no one ever uses (it) now. " It goes on to prove that it is a living word by making vague references to it being a 'lawyer's word', but cites as a specific example: "The FAA has a cunctative approach to supervising airline security"which was lifted from the rather unlikely source, Playboy Magazine though what on earth it was doing reporting on airline security let alone using a word like cunctative is beyond me.

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