Challenging Word of the Week: quotidian


(kwoh TID ee un) adjective

Quotidian means “daily,” i.e., recurring every day, as in a quotidian report, and in that sense is synonymous with diurnal but only in the first meaning given under that entry, i.e., “daily,” as opposed to “daytime” used attributively. By extension, quotidian has acquired the second meaning of “everyday” in the sense of “ordinary, commonplace,” and in certain contexts, “trivial.” In this extension, it follows its Latin antecedent quotidianus (daily), which acquired the meaning “common, ordinary.” Things that go on day after day do become run-of-the-mill after a while. Variety is the spice, etc. The American poet Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), in The Comedian as the Letter C, wrote: “…the quotidian saps philosophers.”

My example: The best bloggers disprove Stevens, being both quotable and quotidian.

From the book, “1000 Most Challenging Words” by Norman W. Schur, ©1987 by the Ballantine Reference Library, Random House. I post a weekly “Challenging Words” definition to call more attention to this delightful book and to promote interesting word usage in the blogosphere. I challenge other bloggers to work the current word into a post sometime in the coming week. If you manage to do so, please leave a comment or a link to where I can find it. Previous words in this series can be found under the appropriate Category heading in the right-hand sidebar.

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