Word of The Day for Thursday, November 18, 2010


sed•u•lous (SEJ-uh-luhs)  adj

diligent in application or in the pursuit of an object; constant, steady, and persevering; steadily industrious; assiduous

sedulousness, sedulity noun; sedulously adverb

1530s, from L. sedulus "attentive, painstaking," probably from sedulo (adv.) "sincerely, diligently," from sedolo "without deception or guile," from se- "without, apart" + dolo, ablative of dolus "deception, guile," cognate with Gk. dolos

Synonyms: assiduous, constant, untiring, tireless

Sentence Examples:
• Leading the life I did, of the sedulous, strained nurse, I had to do something to keep myself fit. -The Good Soldier, Ford Madox Ford

• Our author’s distinguished genius for, and sedulous attention to the interests of his profession, procured him an acquisition of farther honours, as well as recommended him to the patronage of the most eminent of the faculty. -Medica Sacra, Richard Mead

• "Yes, sir," he said severely, "it is her name. But she has another name, sweeter to those who love her, those who worship her, those who have watched her with the eye of sedulous affection through the three years she has spent beneath this roof, though that name," said Mr. Faucitt, lowering the tone of his address and descending to what might almost be termed personalities, "may not be familiar to a couple of dud acrobats who have only been in the place a week-end, thank heaven, and are off to-morrow to infest some other city. That name," said Mr. Faucitt, soaring once more to a loftier plane, "is Sally." -The Adventures of Sally. P. G. Wodehouse

The Storyline
And she was nothing if not sedulous when she felt there was an object lesson to press...

Why This Word:
Here's a word with a very close synonyms. Definitionally, it's hard to see any light between assiduous and sedulous. And in usage, they seem pretty interchangeable. So I'm taking my cue from etymology. Assiduous comes from assiduus "busy, incessant, continual, constant," from assidere "to sit down to," thus "constantly occupied" at one's work. This connotes patience, constancy. Apparently, somewhere along the way, there was also the hint of servility attached. Whereas sedulous derives from sedulus "attentive, painstaking," and ultimately (probably) from se- "without, apart" + dolo, ablative of dolus "deception, guile" - connoting sincerity and attention to detail.
I realize this is a stretch to find some raison d'etre for this word. But you have to concede my sedulity in my task.

Sources: Wordnik, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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