One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Yawning from drowsiness.
drowsy, tired, somnolent, languid, languorous, heavy-eyed, dozy, nodding, asleep on one's feet, yawningView synonyms
- ‘During the period of transition from wakefulness to sleep, which Kellaway has termed the oscitant state, there is a gradual increase in the amplitude of slow components of the EEG.’
- ‘Rising up in oscitant mood, I swallowed a penny piece, which I had between my teeth, and then went home with an empty purse.’
- ‘We are ready to give ourselves credit for the sagacity of this conjecture; else we should be but ill disposed to pardon that oscitant appearance which such a dreamy disposition must give to the most valuable materials.’
- ‘The keeper of a thing so nimble must not sleep, he must not be oscitant, but very intent upon his charge.’
Early 17th century: from Latin oscitant- ‘gaping, yawning’, from the verb oscitare.
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