Monday, January 26, 2009


As I was falling asleep, I woke up repeatedly last night wondering if I had left the gas on. The culprit was a pea soup, so desired by my sick husband, that refused to soften over three hours (and no mother, I did not put the salt in too early) after which, I finally succumbed to throwing into the refrigerator to try again the next day.

Giving up shortly before midnight, I went to bed. Yet I stuck my glasses back onto my nose, twice. Twice, I placed my hand on the covers, prepared to throw them off, suck it up and check to see if in fact, I had turned off the stove. Yet I never got up. I lacked the desire strong enough to inspire movement.

Which brings me to our word for today, velleity (vuh-lee-i-tee).

Velleity is a mild wish or urge too slight to lead to action. A mere wish, if you will, unaccompanied by an effort to obtain it. For instance, say that you have a wish to change the cable channel, unaccompanied by a desire to find the remote control. (Q: Honey, why have you been watching Animal Planet for three hours? A: My own velleity). Or say you have a desire to catch the bus for work, unhampered by the impetus to run and catch it. (Velleity prevented me from being on time, boss).

I grant that velleity is a little harder to work into day-to-day language as the words I typically post, likely because it has no corresponding adjective or verb form like other English words describing emotions or desires (emotion/emote/emotive, desire/desire/desirous, anger/angry/angrily, or wish/wish). But as I've often said, English is a malleable language. Perhaps velleitious will catch on as well as humongous.

1 comment:

  1. Have you been stalking me? Because you don't know how often velleity prevents me from being on time to work.