It’s Friday. Thank goodness it’s Friday! Today’s dictionary.com Word of the Day is “Inveterate”. It is defined as: settled or confirmed in a habit, practice, feeling, or the like: an inveterate gambler; firmly established by long continuance, as a disease, habit, practice, feeling, etc.; chronic.The Collins Dictionary also adds an obsolete meaning: full of hatred; hostile.
Dictionary.com gives us a nice bit of history on the word:
Inveterate comes from the Latin verb inveterāre “to grow old,” a derivative of the adjective vet(us) “old.” Latin vet- is related to Greek ét-os (Doricwét os) “year” with its derivative etḗsios “yearly” (cf. “etesian winds”). The Latin nouns vitellus and vitulus “calf, bull calf, yearling” are also derivatives of vet(us). The Latin name for Italy, Italia, has the rare form Vitalia (cf. Oscan Víteliú), both of which are from Greek italós (Doricwitalós) “bull,” because Italy was rich in cattle. Inveterate entered English in the 16th century.
There is not much in the way of backstory that I could find for this word apart from its peculiar etymological link to cattle; bulls in particular. If you ask me, there are quite a few derivatives in the above blurb, which makes me a bit suspect. But for the sake of discussion I can probably squeeze some sort of relevance out of all this. For example, bulls are generally seen as stubborn, immovable, etc. Not exactly following the “because Italy was rich in cattle” part. Um, okay…if you say so…that’s nice to know…not.
As for the “growing old” part, it is true that some old people are set in their ways. Routine and habit are comforting ruts for some. But I would venture a guess that not all elder folk are inveterate; some are quite comfortable with movement and change (including me. And I do qualify as a first person expert. I have my AARP card to prove it!). But that’s about all I could muster on this week’s word. It is what it is. As with all bland, so-so words, use em or lose em.
I did discover that as a ten letter word, inveterate will land you a whopping 63 points in Scrabble. Good luck with that. I am lucky when I can use all SEVEN of my allotted letters, let alone TEN! But you can store that in the “obscure word fact” file in your brain. Never know when you might need it.
Have a great weekend!
An Inveterate Optimist 🙂
Truth is elusive
to inveterate liars
fiction is the truth
~kat – 7 April 2017