Friday, February 26, 2016

Indolence


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.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.




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