Word of The Day for Sunday, September 19, 2010


(pan-dik-yoo-LA-shen)   /pan- dik-yə- lā-shən/  (pæn dɪkjʊ leɪʃən)    n
  1. the act of stretching and yawning, esp on waking
  2. a stretching and stiffening especially of the trunk and extremities (as when fatigued and drowsy or after waking from sleep)
  3. a yawn
  • 1880, Tandy L. Dix, The Healthy Infant: A Treatise on the Healthy Procreation of the Human Race, page 82: ... we must pandiculate or stretch, in order to restore the equipoise of these two sets of muscles.
  • 1893, Dr. Hoskins, "Osteo-Porosis Discussion", The Journal of Comparative Medicine and Veterinary Archives, January 1893, page 404: ... and one of the earliest symptoms that I have noticed in a great number of cases is, that when you pandiculate them they show a great tenderness,
  • a. 1909, Frederick William Rolfe, Don Renato: An Ideal Content, page 26: Moreover, the intellect of the said examples being equal to their pulchritude, they relax, they pandiculate their members, they rest their bodies,
  • 2002, Steven Sherrill, The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break, page 151:Rick shifts in his seat. "If I don't eat soon I may have to pandiculate," he says.
  • 2009, October, Frans de Waal, “Monkey See, Monkey Do, Monkey Connect”[1], Discover: I once attended a lecture on involuntary pandiculation (the medical term for stretching and yawning) with slides of horses, lions, and monkeys—and soon the entire audience was pandiculating.
1640–50; < L pandiculāt ( us ) ptp. of pandiculārī  to stretch oneself, deriv. of pandere  to stretch

Sources: Dictionary.com , Wiktionary

Why This Word

We all do it: stretch, yawn, move from slumber to wakefulness. Or maybe we're trying to revive ourselves from the midday sleepies. Or perhaps it's day's end but we are nowhere near home and we need to rally ourselves until we can fall into bed. It's a word that describes both action and purpose, effort and effect, albeit by implication. Yes, it has its narrower technical meaning. But I like the full image of the person pulling themselves up in the morning, stretching, letting out a a big yawn, engaging in this most human of activities, that has a word.

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