Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Word of the Day: elanguescence

Word of the Day

elanguescence (n)

The soul's gradual loss of its powers

"The acceptance theory can more comfortably accommodate a rule of desuetude....and allow laws to fade away with their waning acceptance and usage, slowly disentrenched by the elanguescence of memory, relevancy, and desire."
--Peter Suber, The Paradox of Self-Amendment

Being the adult child of a deteriorating alcoholic, I'm quite familiar with elanguescence. As James Brown said, "What we want -- soul power! What we need -- soul power!"


  1. Anonymous6:16 AM

    The second quote, referencing James Brown, is meaningless. Kant used the word in Critique of Pure Reason B 414.

    1. The second quote is hardly meaningless. Alcoholism (or an alcoholic parent) is as strong a drain to the soul as one can imagine. The James Brown quote is a lovely evocation of trying to reclaim or revitalize the soul.

  2. Coleridge applies the term to himself at age 60 or so. See, in his published Notebooks, volume 5, entry 6388 (July-August 1832). An avid reader of Kant since the late 1790's, he obviously is using it with Kant's connotation.

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