Sunday, February 26, 2017

Word of the Day: "Sedulous;" or How I Was Schooled by a Judge

It was bound to happen one day.

With a court order from a judge, I was schooled.

On Friday, Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill, with a one-page order, ruled that only one of 13 other women who accuse 79-year-old entertainer Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct can testify against him at his upcoming trial on charges he allegedly sexually assaulted one woman at his Cheltenham mansion in 2004.

My eyes were midway through the order when it happened.

There it was - the passage, “a sedulous analysis of the proposed evidence.” Huh? I was stymied. I didn’t recall ever hearing the word “sedulous” before, let alone ever using it, and in more than 20 years of being on the court beat, I never saw it recorded in an order.

I quickly turned to my trusty 1979 edition of “The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language New College Edition” for HELP!

Yes, I probably need to update my decades-old reference library, but there it was, nonetheless - “sedulous adj. Diligent; painstaking; industrious. See Synonyms at busy.”

It made sense, since it was obvious the judge took great care in analyzing and weighing his decision in the matter since hearing lawyers’ arguments on the issue during two days of hearings in December. I have no doubt he conducted a “sedulous analysis.”

Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O'Neill/Submitted Photo

No one who has sat through Judge O’Neill’s sentencing hearings can ever say he is not “diligent,” and he is never at a loss for words.

So, thank you, Judge O’Neill, for adding a new word to my vocabulary. Now, if I can only find a way to use it in a news story.

WORD OF THE DAY - Sedulous

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