Word of the Day

Tuesday, March 14, 2000


\GRAV-uh-tahs\ , noun;
High seriousness (as in a person's bearing or in the treatment of a subject).
At first sight the tall, stooped figure with the hawk-like features and bloodless cheeks, the look of extreme gravitas, seems forbidding and austere, the abbot of an ascetic order, scion of an imperial family who has foresworn the world.
-- John Lehmann, "T.S. Eliot Talks About Himself and the Drive to Create", New York Times, November 9, 1953
And we want to tell our readers about sharp, clever books, utterly lacking in gravitas, that we know will delight them on the beach or the bus.
-- Benjamin Schwarz, "(Some of) the best books of 2001", The Atlantic, December 2001
That gravitas and germaphobic hypersensitivity sometimes led to situations bordering on slapstick.
-- Pauline W. Chen, M.D., "Why Don't Doctors Wash Their Hands More? ", New York Times, September 17, 2009
Gravitas is from the Latin gravitas, "heaviness, seriousness," from gravis, "heavy, serious."
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