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In a word: Jactitation

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:

JACTITATION

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If you are haunted by late-night television commercials about "restless leg syndrome," you might find it handy to have the use of the word

jactitation

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(or its alternative

jactation

) to describe the restless tossing of the body or the twitching of a limb or muscle.

The word, pronounced jak-tuh-TAY-shun, comes from the Latin verb

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jactare

, "to throw." In jactitation, your limbs are thrown about without your volition.

There is a specialized legal meaning of the word as well growing out of a sense of a boastful public declaration — to "throw out" a statement.

Garner's Dictionary of Legal Usage

says that it narrowly meant to make of false declaration of marriage to someone but has since taken on broader usage.

Example:

She's also prone to hypnagogic jactitation, which means she twitches abruptly as she's falling asleep.

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