Nehama (med_cat) wrote in 1word1day,
Nehama
med_cat
1word1day

Friday word: Velleity

vel·le·i·ty

noun \ve-ˈlē-ə-tē, və-\
plural vel·le·i·ties
1: the lowest degree of volition
2: a slight wish or tendency : inclination

Etymology:
New Latin velleitas, from Latin velle to wish, will — more at will
First Known Use: 1618
 
And here's a charming poem by Ogden Nash (which is where I had first come across this word:)

WHEN THERE'S A WILL, THERE'S VELLEITY

Seated one day at the dictionary I was pretty weary and also pretty ill at ease,
Because a word I had always liked turned out not to be a word at all, and suddenly I found myself among the v's,
And suddenly among the v's I came across a new word which was a word called velleity,
So the new word I found was better than the old word I lost, for which I thank my tutelary deity,

Because velleity is a word which gives me great satisfaction,
Because do you know what it means, it means, low degree of volition not prompting to action,
And I always knew I had something holding me back but I didn't know what,
And it's quite a relief to know it isn't a conspiracy, it's only velleity that I've got,



Because to be wonderful at everything has always been my ambition,
Yes indeed, I am simply teeming with volition,
So why I never was wonderful at anything was something I couldn't see
While all the time, of course, my volition was merely volition of a low degree,

Which is the kind of volition that you are better off without it,
Because it puts an idea in your head but doesn't prompt you to do anything about it.
So you think it would be nice to be a great pianist but why bother with practicing for hours at the keyboard,
Or you would like to be the romantic captain of a romantic ship but can't find the time to study navigation or charts of the ocean or the seaboard;

You want a lot of money but you are not prepared to work for it,
Or a book to read in bed but you do not care to go into the nocturnal cold and murk for it;
And now if you have any such symptoms you can identify your malady with accurate spontaneity;
It's velleity,

So don't forget to remember that you're velleitous, and if anybody says you're just lazy,
Why, they're crazy.

(Ogden Nash)


Tags: latin, noun, v, wordsmith: med_cat
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