Tuesday, March 15, 2011

For Want of a Daisy

Nothing special here, just the where-from-it-comes of a word I’ve always wondered about. Lackadaisical. Kind of a weird one, right? A little fun to say? And curiously whimsical-sounding for a word that means “unenthusiastic”?

According to Etymonline, the adjective comes from the interjection lackadaisy, which in turn comes from (and means the same as) lackaday, which in turn comes from (and means the same as) alack the day, which people used to shout out to express grief or regret, as improbable as that sounds. Alack, on its own, was also an interjection (is still? if you’re strange?) used to express grief or regret, which in my book makes the other, longer forms completely unnecessary. But that’s language for you. Anyway, lackadaisical originally meant “given to crying lack-a-day, vapidly sentimental,” but then was probably altered by lax to arrive at what it means now.

So there you go. I just save you the valuable seconds you would have spent looking this up today.

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