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A Word for Wednesday: Snooze

In the spotlight this week is a word that many of us are all too familiar with, or guilty of having… snooze.

I blame it on the recent, unusual heat but the snooze button on my alarm has been seeing more and more use of late. In my semi-conscious state this morning, I was thinking about a word to discuss for the blog when that shrill, complacent siren wailed its morning song. Not now. Snooze. Wait… Snooze? What kind of word is that? Let’s find out.

As it happens, the origin of the word is unknown. However, it is thought to have surfaced around the 1780s. To me this suggests that snooze is a word that originates from a sound. In other words I think that snooze is an onomatopoeic word, a word of imitative origin such as ‘beep’, ‘whoosh’, ‘tap’.

Think of the sound of a snooze. Deep inhalations and exhalations of breath, snoring, shuffling of the duvet, rolling around in denial of the day ahead – the word almost carries with it a sense of guilt, for me anyway. Is a snooze worth the rush and panic it may cause you? Do you set your alarm earlier than necessary to allow for a snoozing period (I know I do!) The very deception of setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier than you intend to get up allowing time for a snooze is one of life’s little pleasures.

Unfortunately, the consequences of this snoozing period can leave you feeling groggy for the rest of the day. Hitting the snooze button to head back to sleep interrupts the body’s natural process of waking and restarts the sleep cycle. “You snooze, you lose”. Here is an excellent video from the guys at LifeHacker explaining this phenomenon.

Maybe we should reconsider the stolen pleasure of those extra Zzzzzzzzzzz’s.

Hugh MacDermott

17 Jul 2013
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