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A Word A Day — festinate

September 27, 2012

Word of the Day

  • festinate
  • audio pronunciation
  • \FESS-tuh-nut\


: hasty

"I assure you," said the Ambassador, "I am all too aware of the dangers inherent in a festinate decision."

"Novell's proxy servers, caching and firewalls may not be such utter failures, but growth in crowded fields dominated by companies with better track records is just as illusory. Even successes like GroupWise, ManageWise and ZENworks are vestiges of 1990s thinking. They may halt a festinate death, but you don't build a company around them." — From an article by Fritz Nelson in Network Computing, August 21, 2000


"Festinate" is one among many in the category of words whose first recorded use is in the works of Shakespeare ("Advise the Duke where you are going, to a most festinate preparation." — King Lear, III.vii.10). Perhaps the Bard knew about "festinatus," the Latin predecessor of "festinate," or was familiar with the Latin proverb "festina lente"—"make haste slowly." Shakespeare also gets credit for the adverb "festinately" (first seen in Love’s Labour’s Lost, III.i.6: "Bring him festinately hither."), but another writer beat him to the verb "festinate" (pronounced \FESS-tuh-nayt\), meaning "to hasten."

From Merriam-Webster Online at

Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.