Each week, The Sun's John McIntyre presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar — another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary.
This week's word:
Those clever Romans had a word,
, "to become accustomed to," and by adding the prefix de- they made it
, "to put out of use," effectively to become unaccustomed to. The French turned it into
, for a state of disuse, inactivity or abandonment.
Then, the English language, alert as a magpie for shiny things, picked it up and kept it for its own, though making the pronunciation "DES-wi-tood" or "DES-wi-tyood."
It may be less common than in the 18th or 19th or even 20th century, but it has not faded into disuse itself.
With the advent of computerized editing, his accustomed tools — the line gauge, the proportion wheel, the grease pencil, the typewriter — fell into desuetude.