March 29, 2015
sedate (adjective)
\sih-DAYT\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: quiet in manner or conduct : staid, sober
How do you use it?
Marshall's ability to remain sedate under pressure was one of his strengths as a tennis player.
Are you a word wiz?

Each of the persons named below had a nature that might have been described as "sedate." Which of them do you think lived during the time that "sedate" came into English?

The word "sedate" entered English around the mid-1600s, when Jan Vermeer was creating his masterpieces, often serene paintings of women absorbed in everyday activities. By that time, English already included other words with the same basic meaning. "Staid," meaning "not easily changed" or "calm and serious in manner, attitude, or style" entered English in the 1500s. English-speakers of the 1400s were using "serious" to mean "thoughtful or quiet in appearance or manner." In the century before that, "quiet," meaning "marked by little or no motion, activity, or noise" or "calm," had made its way into English.
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