29 February 2012

Usage Wednesdays: "Laxadaisical"

Since I've been running perpetually late on posts for the past few weeks, I'm throwing an easy one up for your (mild) usage interest:

Lackadaisical > laxadaisical

"Laxadaisical" = "lax" + "lackadaisical"

"Lax" is an oddball shortcut leading straight back to Latin, and it means exactly what you think it means.

"Lackadaisical" apparently comes from the old interjection "lackaday!," which is short for "alack the day!," which is very similar to the interjection "alas!" Although the internet is failing to explain to me why something that means "alas" would turn into something that means "easygoing," I think I've pieced it together. If you're in a situation where you're pushed to say, "alack the day!," then you've probably got a huge mess on your hands. So you might as well lackadaisically be like, "whatever." Fubar, right? Snafu!

The real takeaway from this common usage error is that you're better off not ever bringing it up. Nobody wants to hear that they just said it wrong. Everybody uses the error, and everyone knows what the error means. This is just for your own personal edification.

And so you don't have to go around wondering if it has to do with lacking a daisy or something?

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