fbpx

Which Word Wednesday: Laggard vs. Sluggard

By September 25, 2013 language No Comments

laggard

As I looked over my workload for today, my first reaction was a sigh. Not because I don’t like my work, but because I was seeing it as a task list—things I had to do, things that were keeping me from other things I wanted to do (read, play, nap, daydream, whatever). My simple prayer was that God would help me not to be a sloth when I have great work ahead me today. That’s why the entry laggard / sluggard caught my eye as I flipped through Rod Evans’s The Artful Nuance: A Refined Guide to Imperfectly Understood Words in the English Language.

So today’s Which Word Wednesday is in honor of my inner-sloth. Let’s look first to the New Oxford American Dictionary:

laggard :: noun
a person who makes slow progress and falls behind others.

sluggard :: noun
a lazy, sluggish person.

Both words refer to a person who is slower than most. Laggard seems to be a neutral term, a description of progress, while sluggard seems to be a judgment of motivation (lazy). Evans explains it like this:

A laggard is a dawdler . . . A sluggard is a habitually lazy, slow-moving person.1

Ouch. There’s that lazy tag again—habitually, at that, so it’s a regular happening. Calling someone a sluggard has a definite negative connotation.

The term laggard also used in marketing to describe the consumers who are the last to adopt new products. Again, this is more of a category and label rather than a character flaw.

What’s my WWW verdict? It’s better to be a laggard than a sluggard (but I’d rather be neither).

What’s your verdict? Are you more of a laggard or sluggard? Do you sometimes fight sloth mentality in your work? Do share in the comments.

_______________

www2013

Check out previous Which Word Wednesday verdicts here.
_______________
Sources
1. Rod L. Evans, The Artful Nuance: A Refined Guide to Imperfectly Understood Words in the English Language (New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2009), 136.

My book, Comfort Detox, now available! order your copy here