Reading time: About 1.5 minutes
Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: desultory.
Whenever I read I like to record words that either tickle my fancy or that I don’t yet know on a first-name basis. (I use the notes section in my iPhone for this. This is because it’s usually close at hand and because it keeps the notes together in one place.) Desultory is one of those words. I’ve recorded it dozens of times over the years and yet I’ve never been able to retain its meaning.
I encountered it most recently in the fine novel Look at Me by Jennifer Egan. Here is the sentence in which it appeared:
And yet the boredom and stasis of my present circumstances were driving me to retrospect in the desultory way that a person cooped up in an old house will eventually make her way to the attic and upend a few boxes.
Perhaps it’s the multitude of definitions that has outfoxed me. ( I find if I can’t create a picture in my mind’s eye then my memory just won’t cooperate!) Desultory means: