cunctation (kungk-TAY-shun) — noun: a delay; tardiness.Can’t you imagine accusing someone of chronic cunctation and getting a more hostile reaction that the word merits? I can. Or is that a memory? It’s hard to say when you’re slapped so hard.
I wonder if the rather unfriendly sound of cunctation has prevented it from becoming a commonly used, easily recognized word. Hell, it lost out to tardiness. The word only sounds worse as you trace it back. It comes from a Latin verb whose infinitive form, unfortunately, is cunctor. The first person single present form, cuncto, can be translated as either “I delay,” “I hesitate” or “I dawdle” but not “I use the word that makes the woman hit me.”
Previous words of the week after the jump.