Definition of desuetude in English:


Pronunciation: /dəˈsjuːətjuːd//ˈdɛswɪtjuːd/


  • [mass noun] A state of disuse.

    ‘the docks fell into desuetude’
    • ‘In its external manifestation, the new stage ballet represented a revival of the old court ballet, which had fallen into desuetude when Louis XIV had ceased to dance in 1670.’
    • ‘He shakes his head at the thought of these bygone decencies now fallen into desuetude.’
    • ‘Some churches have changed their doctrines; many more have changed their attitudes and let doctrines fall into desuetude.’
    • ‘Shrines fallen into desuetude were primed with sequestered objects and reprimed with new castings.’
    • ‘The sad desuetude of the lid or titfer is a cause for curiosity as well as regret.’
    • ‘These principles are not new; they fall into desuetude.’
    • ‘The idea of the clause is to check runaway courts, but, for complicated reasons, the clause has fallen into desuetude.’
    • ‘This provision has fallen into desuetude, and appears to have been used only on two occasions; in relation to margarine, and in relation to the market for beer.’
    • ‘The profoundest form of atheism is not the one that involves strenuously denying the existence of God but the one that lets theistic ways of talking fall into desuetude.’
    • ‘While a small trade-off may take place for a new subway entrance or refurbished park, Governor's Island, an enormous opportunity, has languished in picturesque desuetude since its transfer from the federal government in 2003.’
    • ‘In that diocese such precautions are probably unnecessary since confession - now called the Sacrament of Reconciliation by almost nobody - has long since fallen into desuetude.’
    • ‘Even if tea were indeed the virtuous drink of an industrious sobriety, something other than rational health benefits must have been the spur, otherwise tobacco and opiates would have fallen into desuetude.’
    • ‘The railroad was completed in 1853, and with the advent of rail travel the stagecoach lines, which had contributed substantially to the Corner's prosperity, fell into desuetude.’
    • ‘Rote memorization was the most vexing problem, compounded by bleak seminary finances which effected a shortage of qualified teachers, overcrowding, a lack of teaching materials, and facilities in a state of utter desuetude.’
    • ‘They deal with the ability of the Law Society to make rules, and it is very much part of the plan that the New Zealand Law Society is to be the dominant animal in all of these events, and that the district law societies will fade into desuetude.’
    • ‘In the beginning I had a hard dose of culture shock and left all things that reminded me of home fall into desuetude.’
    • ‘Docusoaps have achieved an unexpectedly large audience given the rather sad history of documentary in the Reithian public service tradition and the desuetude of ABC Documentary departments and in-house training.’
    • ‘So the Pentium III is nearing desuetude and long live the Pentium 4.’
    • ‘The joint university-WEA committees were falling into desuetude by the 1980s, as paths continued to diverge: competition for students became as common as collaboration.’
    • ‘Although some writers consider that general principles as a source of international law have virtually fallen into desuetude, others give the concept a more substantive content.’
    non-use, non-employment, lack of use
    View synonyms


Early 17th century (in the sense ‘cessation’): from French, from Latin desuetudo, from desuet- made unaccustomed, from the verb desuescere, from de- (expressing reversal) + suescere be accustomed.