Today’s words is inspired by a physical and mental state that we are plagued with at one point or another, usually on a warm Sunday afternoon. It can strike at the worst possible moment, like when you’re in the middle of studying for a midterm, or when you have a dozen things you need to tackle on your to-do list. Just the other day, I was trying to study for my philosophy midterm, comparing and contrasting the John Locke’s theory of the “empty slate” with Descartes’ theory of “innate ideas”. Just when I was beginning to get a grasp on it, my attention was diverted to an episode of Doc Martin, and I found that my will to stay focused on my notes was slowly diminishing until I reached a point that can only be defined as “lackadaisical”.
Definition: Lacking determination, motivation or enthusiasm; being careless or lazy
Synonyms: disinterested, daydreaming, inattentive, lethargic, lazy, listless, unconcerned
Word Origin: The word lackadaisical is another one of those words where you just know what it insinuates when you say it. The word actually comes from the saying “lack-a-day” or “alack-a-day”, which was used to express regret or shame. It was actually used in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, during the scene when Romeo thought Juliet was dead. Then, just like when you play the game ‘broken telephone’, the saying went through a series of alterations. At one point, the phrase didn’t really possess a particular meaning, but was simply a verbal means of expressing frustration of dissatisfaction. It’s like when people say ‘son of a bitch’ or ‘oh my God’; they’re venting phrases that are not used in the context in which they were intended. Somehow, it morphed into the word ‘lackadaisy’, which was only a stone’s throw away from becoming ‘lackadaisical’. Now, it’s most commonly associated with people who feel or appear to be lazy.
Words are subject to change, just like everything else in existence. You have to wonder if words will continue to change to the point where they won’t even resemble the human language we have come to identify with. Change can lead to some pretty strange things.
That’s all for today. If you’re busy with exam studies like I am, the best of luck to you, and as always, happy reading!