Friday, February 26, 2016
Tanya asked about the word indolence. These days, it is a classy way of saying laziness, sloth, inertia. Lethargy, languor, and torpidity are upper-level synonyms. The literary level is represented by hebetude.
The strange thing is that indolence originally meant without pain. The in- prefix is a negative form, and the -dol- root came from a Latin word that meant pain. Originally, indolence was freedom from pain. Often, it referred to a painless tumor, one that was growing slowly.
When we offer our condolences to someone who has lost a loved one, we are sharing their emotional pain. A dol was once a unit designed to measure the intensity of pain. A dolorimeter is an instrument that measures sensitivity to pain. Dolor is a fancy word for pain or sorrow.
In the early 18th century, indolence came to mean the disposition to avoid trouble and painful circumstances and to embrace ease.
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