breaking the spell of procrastination

I’ve lateley spent some time thinking about procrastination. And not just about procrastination, but about procrastination. The word, that is. Perhaps because I’ve been spending a lot of time procrastinating. Inspired by Sage‘s Word Wise Wednesday tradition, I thought I’d share a bit that I’ve learned about the etymology of procrastination. Remarkably, the meaning of the word has not drifted far, at least according to the Online Etymology Dictionary:

1548, from L. procrastinationem “a putting off,” noun of action from procrastinare “put off till tomorrow,” from pro- “forward” + crastinus “belonging to tomorrow,” from cras “tomorrow,” of unknown origin. Procrastinate is recorded from 1588.

It’s terribly unmysterious.

I was quite interested to note, however, the description of the word as a “noun of action.” In my experience, it often seems to be more of a noun of inaction. And what’s more, observe that one can spell the word inaction from a selection of the letters of the word procrastination. Coincidence? I think not.

Because let’s face it, without inaction, procrastination just wouldn’t be the same.¹

You may also be interested to learn that, in addition to inaction, the following words (and many, many more) can be made by using letters of procrastination:

pasta, carrot, onion, poi, toast, pots, coin, top
trap, scrap, ration, nation, station, Patton, stint, coot
tint, print, caption, croon, tiara, stair, star, icon, coop
scoop, poo, poots, crap, strip, carrion

and, you may be happy to learn


And do you want to know what got me a-ponderin’ about procrastination, and the words one can spell from its letters? I realized that one can spell…pants.


And of course, realizing that made me want to come up with a full-blown anagram for procrastination with pants. It’s been tricky, but here are my candidates.

Croatian roi pants²

coir pants ration³

I think my best attempt is this one:

Rio pants action: R

¹ Actually, without inaction, procrastination would end up something like prorast. And where would that get us?

² Using the a French word roi, meaning “king.” Or alternately “Croation iro pants,” using a Japanse word, iro, meaning “color.”

³ Where coir is a fiber that might be a bit rough for pants.

13 thoughts on “breaking the spell of procrastination

  1. How about A Catnap Torsion Sprint? Or A Transact Pinion Sport? Or maybe A Tsarina Popcorn Stint?

    I could go on (and on!) but it’s not actually me being clever, it’s the Wordsmith Anagram Generator.

    And when you procrastinate aren’t you actively not doing something (as opposed to simply doing nothing)?

  2. Whoops, that last sentence ended up as part of the link. That’ll teach me to post links before I’ve had my first cup of coffee …

  3. azahar-
    Oooh, an anagram generator. That does sound handy. Though it takes away some of the fun of the challenge. And while you have come up with nifty anagrams, they are shockingly lacking of pants.

    And yeah, I suppose there is certainly action in the direction of avoiding other actions. Though, as I sit here (or slouch here) on the couch avoiding the things I should be doing, “action” just doesn’t seem to be the right descriptor…

    (And I fixed the tag on that link. Hope you’ve had your coffee now, by the way. It must be very early in the morning. For me it’s just past bedtime.)

  4. Yes, all caffeined and yoga-ed now and – eep – didn’t realise you wanted the word pants to remain intact. Sooo… (yes, cheating again)

    Contraption Sari Pants
    Raincoats Pants Rip Not
    Satanic Riot Porn Pants

    As I am totally pants at anagrams the generator is my only hope.

  5. azahar-
    Aha! I figured it out. We’ve been at cross purposes due to a case of linguistic ambiguity. Curses! It’s that tricky word with. You see, I was looking to make an anagram of procrastination that itself contained the word pants, as opposed to an anagram of the combination of procrastination and pants. And late last night (for me, at least), I was too tired to notice that your first round of anagrams did in fact contain pants, or at least the additional letters thereof.

    I must say, though, that I am quite fond of the “procrastination pants” anagrams you offered up. “Satanic Riot Porn Pants.” Hah! Of course, this means that “satanic riot porn” is itself an anagram of procrastination. How beautiful!

    And what’s more beautiful is that you used the word pants in a sentence in a way that I have only encountered in passing. I believe it to be a British usage. Is it an expression you use much, or were you particularly inspired by the procrastination pants?

  6. Well, either linguistic ambiguity or ‘selective reading’ on my part …

    Yeah, it’s an expression I picked up when I was living in the UK. I also once had an English flatmate here in Seville whose favourite expression was Pants! so it kinda stuck.

  7. azahar-
    I dug your comment out of my spam box, but I think it may be broken nonetheless. It seems to have lost its reference. Unless, of course, you suggest that I might be amused by the word Pants as typed by a Canadian…(The notion of which amuses me. I could start a collection. The pants of the world. People all over could type “pants” for me…)

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