The word desultory is an adjective that means to jump from one thing to another. Desultory can also mean rambling or unplanned. Desultory can mean lacking a plan, a purpose, or enthusiasm for a current course of action. Synonyms for desultory can mean casual, cursory, superficial, token, perfunctory, half-hearted, and lukewarm.
The word desultory came into common usage in the late 16th century, but was used in common vernacular into the 1800s. Desultory comes from the Latin word desultorius, which meant superficial.
Animals can be desultory. We’ve all seen a cat or a dog get distracted by the things around them, be they a shadow or a leaf floating across the breeze, or a squirrel out the window. Animals are adorable for their occasionally short attention spans. Small animals are particularly known for being distracted easily and jumping from one situation to another at the drop of a hat.
The puppy in this next video is pretty desultory when he goes outside. Although his mom is watching over him patiently, his actions seem a bit unplanned and rambling. The puppy does not know what to pay attention to- there are trees and balls and people and ants and trying to keep his own balance at the same time!
Can you think of any other animals that are known to be desultory?