Etymology: Otiose

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deriving from the Greek for 'true' (eteos/etymos) and 'word' (logos)

Curious about the origin of a word or term? Send it to us and we shall go forth and investigate.

This unusual descriptor jumped out in a recent newspaper article. No doubt some readers will know this word, but it’s a little obscure. The surrounding words and context gave no clue as to its origins. Is it associated with ears, posture? Well, no! 

Otiose has its roots in the Latin word, otiosus – having leisure or ease, unoccupied, idle, not busy. 

Otiose / ̍̕ oʊtioʊs
adjective

1. at leisure; idle; indolent
2. ineffective or futile
3. superfluous or useless
– otiosity (n), – otiosely (adv).

It’s probably not a word that will trip off your tongue every day, but why not take the challenge and add this word into your next conversation. Here’s a suggestion:

Bowen's landscape beautification program became otiose as cyclone Debbie tore through the town.

Sally Holdsworth
Communication subcommittee