Adventures in Etymology – Procrastination

In this Adventure in Etymology we’re looking into the origins of the word procrastination, unless I start procrastinating, as often happens.

Procrastination image

Procrastination [pɹəʊˌkɹæs.tɪˈneɪ.ʃən] is:

  • The act of postponing, delaying or putting off, especially habitually or intentionally.

It comes from Middle French procrastination, from Latin prōcrāstinātiō (procrastination), from prōcrāstinō (to procrastinate), from prō (for, before) and crāstinus (of tomorrow), from crās (tomorrow) [source]

Words from the same roots include craje [ˈkraj(ə)] (tomorrow) in Neapolitan, cras [kras] (tomorrow) in Sardinian, and the obsolete English word crastin (the day after, the morrow) [source].

An antonym of procrastination is precrastination (the completion of a task too quickly or too early for the optimal outcome; the compulsion to act in this way) [source].

If you’re a chronic procrastinator, as I am, you might even perendinate (to procrastinate for a long time, especially two days), from Latin perendinare (to defer until the day after tomorrow) [source].

Incidentally, while procrastination is often seen as negative habit, it can also help you to prioritise aspects of your life that bring joy, according to an article in MedicalNewsToday.

So, procrastinate now! Or maybe later.

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I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur blog.