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Definition: To return to an original state or position. It can refer to something elastic returning to its original position or, for example, to a person returning to a previous stance or opinion.

Pronunciation: re-sile (Emphasis on the second syllable)


16th century. This word has the same root as ‘resilient’ and comes from the Latin resilire, meaning ‘to spring back’.

Why this word?

The New Year is here. We will all most likely make resolutions – aims and goals that we believe will lead us to a happier life. However, enviably, we will resile to our previous habits as soon as we realise what exactly is entailed. I have every intention of beginning the year with the aim of sticking to my ‘weight loss’ resolution. However, my inner-realist fully expects me to resile to both my current eating habits girth by early spring at the latest.

How and when to use this word in a sentence:

The easiest way to use this is in its purest form. When you see an elastic band being twanged at the office, you can marvel at “how quickly it resiled”. And we have every expectation that the use of the word in this situation will enhance your popularity beyond that which can be resiled.

In relation to its other uses – I have heard it used to indicate that someone has changed their mind. Although not common, it can be used to suggest that someone has gone back on a deal. Indeed, use of such an obscure word to describe a broken deal may even add gravity – and a little confusion – to the situation!


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Written by Sean Carabini

Seán Carabini is a Dublin-based author. To date, Seán has written the humorous travel memoirs 'Sticking Out in Minnesota' and 'American Road', as well as 'American Road: The poems' - a book of travel poetry related to the memoir. Seán has also developed a podcast based on the book - subscribe to the American Road podcast today! Seán is a committee member of the Irish Writers' Union.

Chrissy Skelton is Seán Carabini's editor. A graduate of the University of Minnesota's Anthropology programme, Chrissy emerged armed with an arsenal of little-known words and cumbersome jargon - all of which will now be off-loaded onto 'unusedwords' readers!


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