vetust, vetusty

Yes, I am vetust. I am the vetustest. I am wallowing in vetusty. I am vested in fully as many years as a deck of cards has, well, cards (not including jokers). I am perhaps a veteran of years, but only arguably venerable. Jag vet det.

If you wish to vet the etymology, here it is: Latin vetus, ‘old’, also source of veteran, and the derived Latin word vetustus, which Oxford defines as “having existed for a long time, of great age, ancient, long-established, belonging to the distant past, old-fashioned, primitive, archaic.”

Which is how some youngish people turn out to be defining people of my generation. These people try to put us down just because we’ve gotten around. Huh. Those things you’re all about that you think we’re flummoxed by? We invented many of them. You’re welcome. You think a 52-year-old is decrepit? Come for a run with me. See how long you can keep up. (Or, to put it in rougher terms: Bite me. If you can catch me.)

Where was I? Oh, yes. Vetust means old as dust. Or, as Oxford says, “Old, ancient; venerable; old-fashioned.” Vetustest is not in the dictionary but if you know vetust it’s obvious; don’t test me. Vetusty is the noun form – ancientness. And, fittingly, it is itself an archaism: it’s dusty – you have to blow it off before using it.

I think you should know that vetust has the stress on the second syllable, not the first. It’s not that things get more stressful as you go on (this is sometimes true, but sometimes you actually don’t care as much anymore); it’s just that there’s no reason to stress the first syllable. You can assume the same for vetusty, so it rhymes with dusty and musty and trusty and… hmm… how are these all words you can use for antique tools?

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