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Word of the Day - for Toastmasters everywhere
Saturday 19th June 2021
Archive | Previous word | Today's word |

hebetude (noun) HEB-er-tewd

Mental lethargy.

He is positively Nabokovian in his predilection for obscure and specialized words (sullage, ignescent, gradins, livor, gracile), and I was particularly taken with this description of a portrait of King Carlos III: "long nosed and exuding a distinctly ovine hebetude under a fleecy white peruke."

John Vernon, The New York Times, 12 July 1992, New York Times
reviewing F. Gonzalez-Crussi's Suspended Animation: Six Essays on the Preservation of Bodily Parts. Amazon

But the intelligence (that more precious heirloom) was degenerate; the treasure of ancestral memory ran low; and it had required the potent, plebeian crossing of a muleteer or mountain contrabandista to raise, what approached hebetude in the mother, into the active oddity of the son.

Robert Louis Stevenson, Merry Men. Amazon

The leaden weight of an irremediable idleness descended upon General Feraud, who, having no resources within himself, sank into a state of awe-inspiring hebetude. He haunted the streets of the little town gazing before him with lack-lustre eyes, disregarding the hats raised on his passage; and the people, nudging each other as he went by, said: "That's poor General Feraud".

Joseph, Conrad:The Point Of Honor A Military Tale. Amazon

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