Obscurities: Dustsceawung

Obscure 13

A word might become obscure because it falls out of use, or another word comes along that can do the job better; sometimes it’s because a word might be hard to pronounce at first glance, and sometimes it’s because the concept it represents falls into obscurity, dragging the word down with it.  I would say that the latter two reasons apply to today’s word: Dustsceawung. A noun, it means the viewing or contemplation of dust. The “contemplation” aspect also leads to a second definition: The reflection of former civilizations and peoples, and on the knowledge that all things return to dust.

In our fast-paced world, not many people take the time to contemplate dust. But I would argue that, now more than ever, such times of contemplation are healthy – even necessary – to give us a balanced perspective on life. So next time you dust your house or your car dashboard, be grateful you have a roof over your head or transport…take some time to enjoy a bit of dustsceawung, contemplating the good things in your life.

“In order to improve the mind, we ought less to learn, than to contemplate.”
Rene Descartes


Filed under Etymology, Musings, Obscurities, Quotes

8 responses to “Obscurities: Dustsceawung

  1. Amen to the Descartes quote. I’m sure the word went out of use because it is useless to try to pronounce it!

  2. Yep – Old English had a few challenging vowel combinations that were probably eliminated when they tried to “simplify” and standardize the spelling way back when – that was the same event that added more confusion than they solved, with additions like the b in doubt, debt, etc… it’s what we would call “Verschlimmbesserung” in German – making things worse while trying to make them better. 🙂

  3. I dust because I’m shamed into it. Forgive me, but I don’t want to think about dust any more than I have to! I can live without that word. Your post about it was interesting, though.

  4. My mother used to say, “Run the dust cloth around the house” meaning, “dust” – but I used to respond, “I would, but I can’t figure out how to plug it in…” 😉

  5. That is so amusing. Just imagine an electric dust cloth!!

  6. Maybe it’s an undiscovered market niche… 😉

  7. Anonymous

    This is mindblowing!!!!

  8. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed – I’ll bring more occasional obscure words to the party, so keep your eyes open!

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