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I'm looking for a word.

"laziness" is close, but I need a specific kind of laziness, where one routinely shrugs off or refuses responsibility. Where they pass the buck with such phrases as "touched you last." The opposite of any word you'd use to describe someone who volunteers at every opportunity -- if you can think of those words, I can probably think of their antonyms.

Thesaurus isn't helping, 'cause you can't really search by phrase. If I had a one-word search term, I wouldn't need a thesaurus.

At this point, I don't care if it's an adjective, a noun or a verb. And the language of origin isn't important either, so long as it's not a languaged owned and trademarked by corporate entities -- if this word exists in the Ewok dictionary, I don't need to know about it.

And yes, I am rejecting all variations on the word "smurf" for that general reason.

Again, we're looking for an actual word, with a meaning which anyone can verify in an appropriate dictionary.

And know that a certain frustration level need be reached before I consider asking for help with these things; If you've cleverly come up with a person, age group, organization or ethnicity whose name you feel perfectly embodies that description, you might want to think twice about sharing that -- your punchline will have to be very funny to convince me that biting your nose off is not worth the effort and consequence.

I'm still taking suggestions, but fainéant looks like it may be the winner.

And I'm expanding my search to include online essays -- If I can find one which differentiates between assorted types of laziness, that would be the perfect resource to deal with this problem.

But you'd know all of this if you read this thread's comments. =P


( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 14th, 2004 06:27 pm (UTC)
How about apathy?
Nov. 14th, 2004 07:01 pm (UTC)
Apathy is "no emotion" -- we've given it similar connotations to what I describe, but that's really all it means.

And it's a little more passive than I'm looking for anyway. Maybe you have responsibilities, but you'll let 'em slide because you don't care. We're looking for an active avoidance -- there has to be a word which describes that!

Hmm... The opposite of a volunteer is... a mercenary. But that's not what I want either -- these guys don't ask "What's in it for me?" because they've already made up their minds to stay dormant and the point was never up for discussion. Volunteers and Mercenaries, whatever their motivation, serve. This isn't that.


Not sure why this amuses me so, but Apathy deals strictly with emotion, Empathy covers thoughts and emotion, and Telepathy is only thoughts...
Nov. 14th, 2004 06:45 pm (UTC)
Shirker? I know to shirk is proper... Can it be extrapolated?
Nov. 14th, 2004 07:12 pm (UTC)
Shirk might end up being my best bet. I was thinking about that one earlier -- it's got a nice name-calling feel to it (sounding like "jerk" as it does). My problem there is the "sneaky" connotation. Or maybe it's timing -- you've got duties and you're trying to get out of them without anyone noticing, where a ________ wouldn't have been pretty open about not letting them stick in the first place.

I'm probably trying too hard, though. As of this moment, Shirk is my fallback position.

And yes, m-w.com says it can indeed be extrapolated. But I think it loses something when you do. Whatever - verbs are fine. (forgot to mention that in the entry. I go fix that...)
Nov. 14th, 2004 06:56 pm (UTC)

*if you dont like um, please dont make me feel like a shmuck. :P
Nov. 14th, 2004 07:40 pm (UTC)
Fainence coming from fain? I like the element of reluctance that word brings. ("Reluctance" being a new term I can add to my searches!)

You caught my attention with that one, 'cause it's a very elegant looking word that I've never seen before. You might have made it up, in fact -- there's no sign of it in the online dictionaries under any spelling I can come up with. I'd probably have better luck with a paper version where I don't have to know the correct spelling going in. But that's beside the point -- I'm digging the mystery, is all I'm saying.

Slothfulness... feels wrong, but in thinking about why, that did just inspire one of those slap-your-forehead ideas I should have thought of hours ago -- I should be searching the web, not the dictionary. Someone must have written an article drawing distinctions between common types of laziness, and that'll give me exactly what I need.

...which is where I wasn't going to make you feel like a shmuck regardless -- brainstorming means considering different ideas, and the ones we disagree with can still lead in very productive directions because we held them up next to everything else. Sometimes that contrast is all that's needed. So, everyone who's trying to help here is actually helping, in a very real sense.
Nov. 15th, 2004 02:36 am (UTC)
Close, though.

Nov. 15th, 2004 02:37 am (UTC)
Guess it would help if I read further down before replying to something near the top of the comments....
Nov. 14th, 2004 07:44 pm (UTC)
Kurt just came up with a variation on your word. Same basic spelling and everything.

So, see? I'm the shmuck!

How did this slip past me so completely? I'm intrigued by this word...
Nov. 14th, 2004 07:51 pm (UTC)
yay! i stumped YOU!
Nov. 14th, 2004 07:53 pm (UTC)
And, there it is!

An irresponsible idler.

That sounds about perfect, actually.
Nov. 14th, 2004 06:58 pm (UTC)
Not quite perfect, but I thought of both shiftless and indolent. Maybe a combination of the two? Like "shiftdolent"?
Nov. 14th, 2004 07:49 pm (UTC)
I was considering "indolent" earlier. I like the word, but it's too generic. Shiftless, I hadn't thought of. That's pretty darn close, actually. Shiftless and Shirking might be the ideal combination. Shifkrtlessing?

I guess not.
Nov. 14th, 2004 07:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, sure. Sneak "Krt" into the word...
Nov. 14th, 2004 08:04 pm (UTC)
Nov. 14th, 2004 07:35 pm (UTC)
Shiftless seems to be the closest that I can come up with in English. I did a Google search for "irresponsibly lazy" (since that seems to be the basic idea you're going for, and also found the word "faineant" (with an accent mark over the e) at Wordsmyth.net. Looks French to me, which makes a certain amount of sense... (Hey, can I make a joke if I'm also being helpful?)

guarding his nose, just in case...
Nov. 14th, 2004 07:41 pm (UTC)
Feeling a little dumb...
Both of my suggestions appear to have already been made. In my defense, when I started writing this comment, they hadn't yet...It's not so much that I type so slowly, is that I think about what I say more carefully when I'm responding to you. And yet, even with all that carefultidity (yes, I'm making up words now), I still didn't close my parentheses up correctly. Please imagine a closing parentheses after "you're going for".
Nov. 14th, 2004 08:00 pm (UTC)
Ah, but they were the two best suggestions, or at least two of the three, and you came up with them independantly. That's no small accomplishment!

Imagining a closing parentheses now. Pretty...
Nov. 14th, 2004 07:57 pm (UTC)
French was a good guess, yeah.

Wasn't aware of Wordsmyth.net -- that's getting a big ol' bookmark!

And thus, your nose is spared. =)
Nov. 14th, 2004 08:28 pm (UTC)
Check out this definition. That's, like, awesome.
Nov. 15th, 2004 02:44 am (UTC)
Know what I think is neat?
Upwards of 20 comments back and forth on this thread so far, and nobody's asked you why you wanted this word.

That's pretty cool...
Nov. 15th, 2004 11:44 am (UTC)
I think they know it's for some sort of creative project, and respect that I can't reveal much more than that. Those who've been around here a while know a large part of that is me not wanting to disappoint everyone yet again if things don't pan out with it.

Either that, or they figure I got stumped mid-argument ("Oh yeah? Well, you're.... Dammit, what's the word I'm looking for? Let me go ask my friends list -- you wait here.") and don't want to embarass me. Which is also cool.

Either way, my friends list is pretty kick-ass.

But, hey! If it heightens your curiosity, I was also struggling with a related issue, and THAT answer turned out to be "tie a bag of salt to a stick, and aim it in the other direction."

(For real. There's an explanation, but it won't be posted here...)
Nov. 15th, 2004 02:55 am (UTC)
There's always lackadaisical. Though it looks like fainéant might be your winner.
Nov. 15th, 2004 03:05 am (UTC)
Now that I think about it...
Yeah, fainéant definitely seems to describe your laziness. I think lackadaisical might adequately work to label a cause of such laziness though...

"Baytor is looking quite lackadaisical today."
Nov. 15th, 2004 12:12 pm (UTC)
I don't know. You say that, and it triggers internal dialog...
    I can't find the right word to describe Baytor's present demeanor. It's like he's in no hurry, and isn't worried about anything!

    Have you tried "Baytor"?

    I don't understand.

    How are you feeling today, Baytor?

    I am Baytor!



    Robot Fonze is pure love!
...and that's about my cue to go back to sleep.
Nov. 15th, 2004 03:43 am (UTC)
What about slacking? Ex. He's slacking off on the job. She's such a slacker...

*Having visions of the principal from Back to the Future - for some reason*
Nov. 15th, 2004 03:18 pm (UTC)
That one's not bad. More commonly said here than fainéant, which is a plus. But the Back to the Future image is hard to avoid.
Jan. 9th, 2005 05:30 pm (UTC)
WordNet 2.0 entry for "faineant"
WordNet is often good for this sort of thing because you can search by synset, which is basically a node where various synonyms intersect.


There is a WordNet search bar plugin for Firefox as well. Very useful.

Toodles, Damon

Jan. 12th, 2005 09:24 pm (UTC)
Will have to play with that, definitely.

WordNet, not Firefox.

Though I will get around to installing Firefox soon enough. 'cause, my system's not nearly bloated enough without a second web browser!

(I know, I know...)
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )