Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Word of the Week: Dilatory

Welcome to Mrs. M's Word of the Week, a new and (I hope) weekly column in which I highlight a specific word that has lately tickled my fancy.

This week's word is Dilatory.

dil·a·to·ry (ˈdiləˌtôrē), adjective
1. Slow to act.
2. Intended to cause delay.
Synonyms: slow, tardy, unhurried, sluggish, sluggardly, snaillike, lazy

Used in a sentence:

"I have been very dilatory about writing blog posts this year," said Mrs. Micawber.

Most recently seen or heard in:

This post from Mrs. Thomasina Tittlemouse

Why I like this word:

1. It invariably reminds me of Mr. Bennett, a favourite character in Pride and Prejudice:
"...though dilatory in undertaking business, he was quick in its execution." (This could actually apply to me.)
"His family knew him to be, on all common occasions, a most dilatory and negligent correspondent...." (Oh dear. This also applies to me. Perhaps that's why I identify with Mr. B?)
2. Consider the alternatives:

Tardy - sounds too much like "nerdy"
Slow - has a rather negative intellectual implication
Sluggish and Snail-like - too slimy-sounding
Lazy - good when applied to a river, bad when applied to a person

Dilatory rolls more pleasantly off the lips, and hints at a sort of languid elegance. Dilatory dresses in cool white linen and sips cocktails on a shady veranda. "I'm not lazy," it says, in a soft, honeyed drawl. "I just have other things on my mind."


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That's all for today, folks (cue sprightly theme music). Tune in next week, when we'll highlight another Word word word word of the the the Week week week week.

(Must speak to the sound man about that echo.)

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Has any word tickled your fancy lately?

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  1. Words are interesting things. Referring to yours, I have never used 'dilatory', despite its versatility, I do declare that it reminds me of 'depilatory' (which is also somewhat slow to act!) I have a certain fondness for 'tardy' which comes from the French expression 'en retard', meaning: late.
    How about the word 'equilibrium'? I love it - it balances so perfectly in my mouth like a good wine... but that's another story all together!

  2. I think I've been dilatory regarding dishes this week. And mopping. And trimming the hedge.

    But I did get the dahlias dug up and safely stored upside down in the basement...

    What a wonderful feature idea you've come up with!!!

  3. What a wonderful idea! Me? Dilatory? Abolutely not (ahem ahem)! :)I am curious what kind of word you will pick next week.

  4. There is a very dilatory acting fly on my dear daughter's window.
    Yes! It does sound much better than "sluggish"!
    For me this word has some ophtalmological connotations. Dilatatio pupillae-means widening of our eye's pupil. Very interesting. So does dilatory mean that certain actions are widened in time?
    Well, from now on I am not procrastinating, I'm just being dilatory!!

  5. Good word. It really does apply to me.

  6. Fabulous, I love it Mrs. M. I will need to include this is my next conversation. Sneak it in somewhere and see if the recipient looks at me weirdly! x Great idea, I love learning new words and went through a phase of pinning them to my curtains when I was an anxious teenager, determined to be of a high intellect! x Penny
    ps. I'm loving meritocracy at the moment, heard it on the rado the other day and thought how it needs to become part of my vocabulary.

  7. I feel very dilatory this morning. It's a beautiful fall morning and I just want to sit and stare at the sun on the backyard.

    My favorite word this week: incomprehensible

  8. I'm quite enamoured with the idea! Brilliant! *makes mental note to self to learn new words daily as well* :)

  9. What a good idea Sue and yes I rather like this word too and can honestly say until you have explained it I wouldn't have known it's meaning. it's great that you are going to educate us like this, I will use this word at work tomorrow and see how many people know what I am talking about. :)

  10. I've never commented but I've been hanging about for awhile. I think yours is the only blog I follow just for the sheer delight of reading. I love your little poems and your poemy prose. And now contemplations on words themselves! It's lovely. :)

  11. Oh, boy. I don't even want to talk about dilatory. I'm baaa-aack, by the way. :) Not dilatory anymore. :)

  12. I have been very dilatory about things lately, and not necessarily in a nice Southern way. I expect to take a bit more action with life in general tomorrow when I have a day off and can get lots done.
    Hugs to you, Meredith

  13. How about obsequious? It occurred twice this week the way words do when you start to notice them.

  14. I like your new column, it's very interesting ~ I love learning new words <3 My favorite word would have to be splendiferous, I don't know if it's a real word but it's certainly real enough for me. :)

  15. Yes, that word applies to me, I'm afraid. Would much rather use it than any other word........
    Love learning new words. Often think I should find one in the dictionary and incorporate it into my daily conversation. WIthout doubt I'd get some strange looks, but hey, if it makes me sound rather learned who am I to argue........:)
    Look forward to next weeks word Sue.....x

  16. As of late I have been dilatory in expanding my vocabulary. Reading Mrs. M's Word of the Week faithfully may help me up cycle from this stagnate dilatory state. Thanks, Sue :)
    Gracie xx

  17. Well I certainly wasn't dilatory in putting this into practise lol xx

  18. How odd that I should feel momentarily confused by the thought of Dilatory wearing dresses ... then I realised that to me Dilatory is always a guy!

    1. I really like this, Annie!
      I am being rude (as well as dilatory really!!!) in not introducing myself to Sue before making this comment, sorry Sue, I'm on the way!

  19. Hello Sue, I popped over from Linda's place (crafty corner) and love what you're doing here - educational as well as entertaining, and very refreshing thank you!
    Joy x

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