February 28, 2007


quotidian: adj. [quo-TID'-e-an]
1 : occurring every day [quotidian fever]
2 : belonging to everyday [quotidian routine]
3 : COMMONPLACE, ORDINARY [quotidian drabness]
--Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. http://unabridged.
merriam-webster.com (28 Feb 2007).

1340, "everyday, daily," from L. quotidianus "daily," from L. quotus "how many, which in order or number" + dies "day"--Online Etymological Dictionary http://www.etymonline
.com (
28 Feb. 2007).

"Now, after a four-year process initiated under controversial former president Lawrence Summers, the nation's most famous university [Harvard] has come up with a whole new set of guidelines that proponents say will help clarify how liberal arts subjects like philosophy and art history shed light on the hurly-burly of more quotidian topics"(62-63)--Caplan,Jeremy. "As Harvard Goes," Time magazine, 5 March 2007.

Examples of "quotidian topics" in the new Harvard curriculum, which will not go into effect before Sep. 2009, are aluded to in the curriculum committee's description of a new course titled, Emperical Reasoning, which will cover math, logic, and statistics. "It is being added," the committee report says, "because graduates of Harvard 'will have to decide, for example, what medical treatments to undergo, when a defendant in court has been proven guilty, whether to support a policy proposal, and how to manage their personal finances'" (63).--Caplan.

Shockingly, the school will drop its requirement in history.

That'll make Henry Ford (1863-1947)-- whereever he may be--most happy. Ford's the solon who said "History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present [read the quotidian] and the only history that's worth a tinker's damn is the history we make today."--Chicago Tribune, 25 May 1916.



  1. Are quotidian and subfusc cousins?

  2. Ford lived to 1947 right? Not 1970?

  3. Sean,
    Henry Ford did not die in 1970 at age 106, but at 83 in 1947. Thanks for reading--carefully--the posting on "quotidian" and responding with your cleverly worded question about the date of Ford's death. I have corrected the (indefensible) typo to read 1947. I hope you find reading "Words Worthy" useful. If you have suggestions for improving it, send them along.--Bloggin' John