I confess: I have a ’tude.
You know, an attitude. But not so much one that’s inclined to making a fuss. Rather, one that is from too much time on my fesses – but keeps me even more on my fesses.
Sorry – for those who don’t know: fesses is French for ‘buttocks’. Basically, fessitude comes from being bummed out, perhaps from being on your bum but definitely with the result of being even more on your bum. It’s the result of wearing out: being weary.
I hope that doesn’t sound fussy. I don’t have much physical labour to do. I sit at my dining room table for all the working hours of the day, and some more (to dine), and you might think that a person who has not been tried by exertion could not be tired. But find an elastic band that has not been stretched in a long time and see how responsive it is. In the long run, I need to go for a long run; in the short run, I could stand – or rather not stand still for – a short run. I would not block a walk. It keeps the systems running, the fluids flowing, the metabolic reactions acting. Inertia makes one inert. Laxitude and lentitude lead to lassitude and fessitude.
Where does this word fessitude – and its adjectival sibling, fessive – come from? From Latin fessus, ‘wearied’. It looks like what you get if you’re festive too long and your ability to make a hard stop ([t]) gets worn down. It may be related to fatisco ‘I droop’ and fatigo ‘I weary’, but I’m too tired to keep digging to find out. Anyway, not too many people can be bothered to use this word anymore. If they ever could.