Bedtime reading

I recently came across the word “oscitant” while reading Tade Thompson’s Rosewater. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it used before and I pulled a complete blank on what it meant. (When I looked it up I found it described by the OED as rare and obsolete, which made me feel better.)

Its meaning is drowsy or dull, deriving from the Latin for “gape.” So literally it means yawning from drowsiness. According to several dictionaries it also means negligent, in the sense of being asleep at the wheel. You read and learn.

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