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Word of the Day
Monday, August 03, 2009

Definitions for desultory

  1. Jumping or passing from one thing or subject to another without order or rational connection; disconnected; aimless.
  2. By the way; as a digression; not connected with the subject.
  3. Coming disconnectedly or occurring haphazardly; random.

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Citations for desultory
The shadows on the perfect lawn were straight and angular; they were the shadows of an old man sitting in a deep wicker-chair near the low table on which the tea had been served, and of two younger men strolling to and fro, in desultory talk, in front of him. Henry James Jr., The Atlantic Monthly
In January 1905 Richard Watson Gilder approached the then-president of the Institute, the genteel poet and Wall Street broker Edmund Clarence Stedman, and urged him to hold a "formal discussion" on the question of women in both the Institute and the newly created Academy -- a formal discussion, he said, rather than the "desultory talk among members" that was all there had been so far. Penelope Lively, The Five Thousand and One Nights
Origin of desultory
1575-1585
Desultory comes from Latin desultorius, from desultor, "a leaper," from the past participle of desilire, "to leap down," from de-, "down from" + salire, "to leap."
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