Sunday, June 7, 2015

languish/luxuriate: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Sunday, June 7, 2015

To languish is to wilt, pine away, become feeble. It always indicates an undesirable state. If you’re looking for a nice long soak in the tub, what you want is not to languish in the bath but to luxuriate in it.

The word “languid” (drooping, listless) often occurs in contexts that might lead people to think of relaxation. Even more confusing, the related word “languorous” does describe dreamy self-indulgent relaxation. No wonder people mistakenly think they want to “languish” in the bath.

This is the ten-year anniversary of the Common Errors in English Usage calendar. To celebrate, we are bringing back some of our favorite interesting, funny, but sometimes merely silly entries through the years before going on hiatus in 2016.

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