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ments. An extravagant or unnatural gesture is termed as a part of his performance, it becomes a posture : a gesticulation ; a sycophant, who wishes to cringe into so, likewise, when one leans against the wall it is a favor with the great, deals largely in gesticulation to leaning position ; • Every step, in the progression of mark his devotion ; a buffoon who attempts to imitate existence, changes our position with respect to the the gestures of another will use gesticulation ; and things about us." Johnson. But when one theatrically the monkey who apes the actions of human beings bends his body backward or forward, it is a posture : does so by means of gesticulations ; Neither the one may, in the same manner, sit in an erect position, judges of our laws, nor the representatives of the or in a reclining posture; When I entered his room, people, would be much affected by laboured gesticula- he was sitting in a contemplative posture, with his tion, or believe any man the more, because he rolled eyes fixed upon the ground; after he had continued his eyes, or puffed his cheeks. Johnson.
in his reverie near a quarter of an hour, he rose up Posture * is a mode of placing the body more or and seemed by his gestures to take leave of some less differing from the ordinary habits ; attitude is the invisible guest.' HAWKESWORTH. manner of keeping the body more or less suitable to the existing circumstances. A posture, however convenient, is never assumed without exertion; it is therefore willingly changed: an attitude, though not usual, ACTION, AGENCY, OPERATION. is still according to the nature of things; it is therefore Headily preserved. A posture is singular; it has
Action (v. To act) is the effect, agency the cause. something in it which departs from the ordinary car
Action is inherent in the subject; riage of the body, and makes it remarkable; • False- O noble English that could entertain hood in a short time found by experience, that her
With half their forces the full power of France, superiority consisted only in the celerity of her course,
And let another half stand laughing by,
All out of work, and cold for action. SHAKSPEARE. and the change of her posture.' Johnson. An attitude is striking; it is the natural expression of cha- Agency is something exterior ; it is, in fact, putting a racter or impression ; * Falsehood always endeavoured thing into action : in this manner, the whole world is to copy the mien and attitudes of truth.' Johnson. in action through the agency of the Divine Being ; A brave man will put himself into a posture of defence, A few advances there are in the following papers without assuming an attitude of defiance.
tending to assert the superintendance and agency of Strange and forced positions of the body are termed Providence in the natural world.' WOODWARD. Somepostures ; noble, agreeable, and expressive forms of times the word action is taken in the sense of acting carriage, are called attitudes : mountebanks and clowns upon, when it approaches still nearer to agency; It put themselves into ridiculous postures in order to is better therefore that the earth should move about excite laughter; actors assume graceful attitudes to its own centre, and make those useful vicissitudes of represent their characters. Postures are to the body
Postures are to the body night and day, than expose always the same side to what grimaces are to the face; attitudes are to the the action of the sun.' BENTLEY Operation, from body what air is to the figure: he who in attempting the Latin operatio, and opera labor or opus need, to walk assumes the attitude of a dancer, puts himself signifying the work that is needful, is action for a into a ridiculous posture; a graceful and elegant atti- specitic end, and according to a rule ; as the operation tude in dancing becomes an affected and laughable of nature in the article of vegetation ; posture in another case. Postures are sometimes usefully employed in stage
The tree whose operation bringe
Knowledge of good and ill, shun thou to taste. dancing ; the attitudes are necessarily employed by
Milton. painters, sculptors, dancing masters, and other artists. Posture is said of the whole body; the rest, of particular limbs or parts. Attitude and posture are figu- ACTIVE, DILIGENT, INDUSTRIOUS, ratively applied to other objects besides the body :
ASSIDUOUS, LABORIOUS. armies assume a menacing attitude ; in a critical posture of affairs, extraordinary skill is required on the Active, from the verb to act, implies a propensity to part of the government; Milton has presented this act, to be doing something without regard to the violent spirit (Moloch) as the first that rises in that nature of the object; diligent, in French diligent, assembly to give his opinion upon their present pos- Latin diligens, participle of diligo, to choose or like, ture of affairs.' ADDISON.
implies an attachment to an object, and consequent Position, when compared with posture, is taken only attention to it; industrious, in French industrieux, in regard to persons, in which case the posture, as ob- Latin industrius, is probably formed fron intro served above, is a species of position, namely, an arti- within, and struo to build, make, or do, signifying an ficial position : if a person stands tiptoe, in order to inward or thorough inclination to be engaged in some see to a greater distance, he may be said to put him- serious work ; assiduous, in French assidu, in Latin self into that position; but if a dancer do the same, assiduus, is compounded of as or ad, and siduus from
Roubaud : “ Posture, attitude."
sedeo to sit, signifying to sit close to a thing ; labo- without laborious exertions, considerable attainments rious, in French laborieux, Latin laboriosus, from are not to be expected in many literary pursuits. labor, implies belonging to labor, or the inclination Active minds set on foot inquiries to which the into labor.
dustrious, by assiduous application, and diligent if We are active if we are only ready to exert our not laborious research, often afford satisfactory powers, whether to any end or not, • Providence has made the human soul an active being.' JOHNSON. We are diligent when we are active for some specific end; 'A constant and unfailing obedience is above the
ACTIVE, BRISK, AGILE, NIMBLE. reach of terrestrial diligence. Johnson. We are industrious when no time is left unemployed in some Active, signifies the same as in the preceding serious pursuit ; · It has been observed by writers of article; brisk has a common origin with fresh, which morality, that in order to quicken human industry, is in Saxon fersh, Dutch frisch orbersk, Danish Providence has so contrived that our daily food is frisk, fersk, &c.; agile, in Latin agilis, comes from not to be procured without much pains and labor. the same verb as active, signifying a fitness, a readiADDISON. We are assiduous if we do not leave a
ness to act or move; nimble is probably derived from thing until it is finished ; . If ever a cure is performed the Saxon nemen to take, implying a fitness or capacity on a patient, where quacks are concerned, they can to take any thing by a celerity of movement. claim no greater share in it than Virgil's Iapis in the
Activity respects one's transactions; briskness, one's curing of Æneas; he tried his skill, was very assiduous about the wound, and indeed was the only dren are brisk in their play. Agility refers to the
sports : men are active in carrying on business; chilvisible means that relieved the hero; but the poet light and easy carriage of the body in springing; assures us it was the particular assistance of a deity nimbleness to its quick and gliding movements in that speeded the operation.' PEARCE. We are labo- running. A rope-dancer is agile ; a female moves rious when the bodily or mental powers are regularly nimbly. employed in some hard labor; • If we look into the
Activity results from ardor of mind; " There is brute creation, we find all its individuals engaged in a
not a more painful action of the mind than invention ; painful and laborious way of life to procure a necessary yet in dreams it works with that ease and activity, that subsistence for themselves.' ADDISON.
we are not sensible when the faculty is employed.' A' man may be active without being diligent, since Addison. Briskness springs from vivacity of feeling ; he may employ himself in what is of no importance; "I made my next application to a widow, and attacked but he can scarcely be diligent without being active, her so briskly that I thought myself within a fortnight since diligence supposes some degree of activity in of her.' BUDGELL. Agility is produced by corporeal one's application to a useful object
. A man may be vigor, and habitual strong exertion ; . When the diligent without being industrious, for he may dili- Prince touched his stirrup, and was going to speak, gently employ himself about a particular favorite the officer, with an incredible agility, threw himself on object without employing himself constantly in the the earth and kissed his feet.' STEELE. Nimbleness same way; and he may be industrious without being results from an effort to move lightly ; diligent, since diligence implies a free exercise of the mental as well as corporeal powers, but industry
O friends, I hear the tread of nimble feet applies principally to manual “labor. Activity and
Hasting this way. Milton. diligence are therefore commonly the property of lively or strong minds, but industry may be associated with moderate talents. A man may be diligent without being assiduous; but he cannot be assiduous without
ACTIVE, BUSY, OFFICIOUS. being diligent, for assiduity is a sort of persevering Active, signifies the same as before; busy, in Saxon diligence. A man may be industrious, without being gebisged, from bisgian, in German beschäfftigt, from laborious, but not vice versâ ; for laboriousness is å beschäfftigen to occupy, and schaffen to make or do, severer kind of industry.
implies a propensity to be occupied ; officious, in The active man is never easy without an employ- French officieux, Latin officiosus, from officium duty ment; the diligent man is contented with the em- or service, signifies a propensity to perform some serployment he has; the industrious man goes from one vice or office. employment to the other; the assiduous man seeks Active respects the habit or disposition of the mind; to attain the end of his employment; the laborious busy and officious, either the disposition of the mind, man spares no pains or labor in following his em- or the employment of the moment: the former regards ployment.
every species of employment; the latter only particular Activity is of great importance for those who have kinds of employment.' An active person is ever ready the management of public concerns : diligence in bu- to be employed; a person is busy, when he is actually siness contributes greatly to success: industry is of employed in any object; he is officious, when he is great value in obtaining a livelihood: without assiduity employed for others. no advances can be made in science or literature; and Active is always taken in a good, or at least an in
different sense; it is opposed to lazy ; · The pursuits One is diligent at work : assiduity holds a middle of the active part of mankind are either in the paths rank; it may be employed equally for that which of religion and virtue, or, on the other hand, in the requires active exertion, or otherwise : we may be roads to wealth, honour, or pleasures.' Addison. assiduous in the pursuits of literature, or we may be Busy, as it respects occupation, is mostly in a good assiduous in our attendance upon a person, or the
• We see multitudes busy in the pursuit of performance of any office; riches, at the expense of wisdom and virtue.' Johnson.
And thus the patient dam assiduous sits, It is opposed to being at leisure; as it respects dis
Not to be tempted from her tender task. THOMSON. position, it is always in a bad sense; · The air-pump, the barometer, the quadrant, and the like inventions, were thrown out to those busy spirits (politicians), as tubs and barrels are to a whale, that he may let the ship sail on without disturbance.' Addison. Officious
READY, APT, PROMPT. is never taken in a good sense; it implies being busy without discretion. To an active disposition, nothing Ready, from the German bereiten to prepare, sigis more irksome than inaction; but it is not concerned nifies prepared ; apt, in Latin aptus, signifies literally to inquire into the utility of the action. It is better fit; prompt, in Latin promptus, from promo to draw for a person to be busy than quite unemployed; but a forth, signifies literally drawn to a point. busy person will employ himself about the concerns of
Ready is in general applied to that which has been others, when he has none of his own sufficiently im- intentionally prepared for a given purpose ; portant to engage his attention : an officious person is as unfortunate as he is troublesome; when he strives The god himself with ready trident stands to serve he has the misfortune to annoy; I was forced
And opes the deep, and spreads the moving sands.
DRYDEN. to quit my first lodgings by reason of an officious landlady, that would be asking me every morning how promptness and aptness are species of readiness, I had slept.' ADDISON.
which lie in the personal endowments or disposition : hence we speak of things being ready for a journey;
persons being apt to learn, or prompt to obey or to SEDULOUS, DILIGENT, ASSIDUOUS. reply. Ready, when applied to persons, characterizes
the talent; as a ready wit. Apt characterizes the Sedulous, from the Latin sedulus and sedeo, sig- habits; as apt to judge by appearance, or apt to nifies sitting close to a thing; diligent, v. Active, decide hastily, and is also employed in the same sense diligent; assiduous, v. Active, diligent.
figuratively; Poverty is apt to betray a man into The idea of application is expressed by these epi- envy, riches into arrogance. ADDISON. Prompt chathets, but sedulous is a particular, diligent is a general racterizes more commonly the particular action, and term: one is sedulous by habit; one is diligent either denotes the willingness of the agent, and the quickness habitually or occasionally: a sedulous scholar pursues with which he performs the action; as prompt in exhis studies with a regular and close application ; a ecuting a command, or prompt to listen to what is scholar may be diligent at a certain period, though not said ; so likewise when applied to things personal ; invariably so. Sedulity seems to mark the very
Let not the fervent tongue, essential property of application, that is, adhering closely to an object; but diligence expresses one's
Prompt to deceive, with adulation smooth,
Gain on your purpos'd will. Thomson. attachment to a thing, as evinced by an eager pursuit of it: the former, therefore, bespeaks the steadiness of the character; the latter merely the turn of one's inclination : one is sedulous from a conviction of the importance of the thing: one may be diligent by fits
ALERTNESS, ALACRITY. and starts, according to the humor of the moment. Assiduous and sedulous both express the quality of
Alertness, from ales a wing, designates corporeal
activity or readiness for action; alacrity, from acer sitting or sticking close to a thing, but the former
sharp, brisk, designates mental activity. like diligent, be employed on a partial occasion; the latter is always permanent: we may be assiduous in
We proceed with alertness, when the body is in its our attentions to a person; but we are sedulous in the important concerns of life. Sedulous peculiarly re- The wings that waft our riches out of sight spects the quiet employments of life; a teacher may Grow on the gamester's elbows; and the alert
And nimble motion of those restless joints be entitled sedulous : One thing I would offer is that
That never tire, soon fans them all away. CowPER. he would constantly and sedulously read Tully, which will insensibly work him into a good Latin style.' We proceed with alacrity when the mind is in full LOCKE. Diligent respects the active employments; pursuit of an object; · In dreams it is wonderful to 'I would recommend a diligent attendance on the observe with what sprightliness and alacrity the soul courts of justice (to a student for the bar).' DUNNING. exerts herself.' ADDISON.
full vigor ;
ACTUAL, REAL, POSITIVE. These terms vary according to the different senses
Actual, in French actuel, Latin actualis, from actio of the verb from which they are drawn ; actor is used a deed, signifies belonging to the thing done; real, in for one who does any thing or acts a part ; . Of all the French reel, Latin realis, from res, signifies belonging patriarchal histories, that of Joseph and his brethren
to the thing as it is; positive, in French positif, Latin is the most remarkable, for the characters of the actors, positivus, from pono to place or fix, signifies the state and the instructive nature of the events.' BLAIR. An
or quality of being fixed, established. agent is one who puts other things in action, parti- What is actual has proof of its existence within cularly as distinguished from the patient or thing acted itself, and may be exposed to the eye ; what is real upon; · They produced wonderful effects, by the
may be satisfactorily proved to exist; and what is proper application of agents to patients.' TEMPLE. positive precludes the necessity of a proof. Actual is The agent is also an active being, or one possessing opposed to the supposititious, conceived or reported; the faculty of action;
real to the feigned, imaginary; positive to the un
certain, doubtful. Heav'n made us agents free to good or ill, And forc'd it not tho' he foresaw the will. Dryden.
Whatever is the condition of a thing for the time
being is the actual condition; sorrows are real which An agent in a piece of fiction is the being who per- flow from a substantial cause; proofs are positive forms the actions narrated; • I expect that no pagan which leave the mind in no uncertainty. The actual agent shall be introduced into the poem, or any fact state of a nation is not to be ascertained by individual related which a man cannot give credit to with a good instances of poverty, or the reverse; there are but conscience.' ADDISON. Hence it is that the word few, if any, real objects of compassion among common actor is taken in the sense of a player, and an agent beggars ; many positive facts have been related of the in the mercantile sense of a factor, or one who acts deception which they have practised. By an actual in another's stead.
survey of human life, we are alone enabled to form just opinions of mankind; · The very notion of any duration being past implies that it was once present;
for the idea of being once present is actually included ACTOR, PLAYER, PERFORMER.
in the idea of its being past.' Addison. It is but too
frequent for men to disguise their real sentiments, The actor and player both perform on a stage; but although it is not always possible to obtain positive the former said in relation to the part that is acted, evidence of their insincerity; • We may and do conthe latter to the profession that is followed. We may verse with God in person really, and to all the purbe actors occasionally without being players profession- poses of giving and receiving, though not visibly.' ally, but we may be players without deserving the South. Dissimulation is taken for a man's positive name of actors. Those who personate characters for professing himself to be what he is not.' SOUTH. their amusement are actors but not players : those who do the same for a livelihood are players as well as actors ; hence we speak of a company of players, not actors. So likewise in the figurative sense, whoever acts a part real or fictitious, that is, on the stage of
TO PERPETRATE, COMMIT. life, or the stage of a theatre, is an actor; . Our
The idea of doing something wrong is common to orators (says Cicero) are as it were the actors of truth
these terms; but perpetrate, from the Latin perpetro, itself; and the players the imitators of truth.' Hughes. But he only is a player who performs the nifying thoroughly to compass or bring about, is a
compounded of per and petro, in Greek Apártw, sigfictitious part; hence the former is taken * in a bad much more determined proceeding than that of comor good sense, according to circumstances; Cicero is mitting. One may commit offences of various degree known to have been the intimate friend of Roscius the actor.' HUGHES. Player is always taken in a less fa
and magnitude ; but one perpetrates crimes only, and
those of the more heinous kind. A lawless banditti, vorable sense, from the artificiality which attaches to his profession;
who spend their lives in the perpetration of the most
horrid crimes, are not to be restrained by the ordinary All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players.
course of justice ; SHAKSPEARE.
Then shews the forest which, in after times, The term performer is now used in the sense of one
Fierce Romulus, for perpetrated crimes, who performs a part in a theatrical exhibition, and
A refuge made. Dryden. for the most part in application to the individual in He who commits any offence against the good order of estimating the merits of his performance, as a good society exposes himself to the censure of others, who or bad performer.
may be his inferiors in certain respects; The miscarriages of the great designs of princes are of little degree, as displayed in the inanimate part of the use to the bulk of mankind, who seem very little creation ; interested in admonitions against errors which they
* Vide Girard : “ Acteur, comedien.'
Informer of the planetary train, cannot commit.' Johnson.
Without whose quickening glance their cumbrous orbs
themselves; they are fond of rest, and particularly INACTIVE, INERT, LAZY, SLOTHFUL,
averse to be put in action; but they will sometimes SLUGGISH.
move quickly, and perform much when once impelled to move ;
· The first canto (in Thomson's Castle of A reluctance to bodily exertion is common to all Indolence) opens a scene of lazy luxury that fills the these terms. Inactive is the most general and unqua- imagination.' Johnson. Slothful people never vary lified term of all; it expresses simply the want of a their pace; they have a physical impediment in themstimulus to exertion; inert is something more positive, selves to quick motion ; from the Latin iners or sine arte without art or mind; it denotes a specific deficiency either in body or mind;
Falsely luxurious, will not man awake,
And, springing from the bed of sloth, enjoy laxy, which has the same signification as given under
The cool, the fragrant, and the silent hour? the head of Idle; slothful, from slow, that is, full of
Thomson, slowness; and sluggish from slug, that is, like a slug, drowsy and heavy, all rise upon one another to de- Sluggish people are with difficulty brought into action; note an expressly defective temperament of the body it is their nature to be in a state of stupor; “ Converwhich directly impedes action.
sation would become dull and vapid, if negligence To be inactive is to be indisposed to action ; that
were not sometimes roused, and sluggishness quickis, to the performance of any office, to the doing any
ened by due severity of reprehension.' Johnson. specific business : to be inert is somewhat more; it is to be indisposed to movement: to be lazy is to move with pain to one's self: to be slothful is never to move otherwise than slowly: to be sluggish is to move in a
IDLE, LAZY, INDOLENT. sleepy and heavy manner.
A person may be inactive from a variety of inci- Idle is in German eitel vain ; laxy, in German dental causes, 'as timidity, ignorance, modesty, and lässig, comes from the Latin lassus weary, because the like, which combine to make him averse to enter weariness naturally engenders laziness ; indolent, in upon any business, or take any serious step; a person
Latin indolens, signifies without feeling, having apathy may be inert from temporary indisposition ; but laxi- or unconcern. ness, slothfulness, and sluggishness are inherent phy- A propensity to inaction is the common idea by which sical defects : laziness is however not altogether inde
these words are connected; they differ in the cause pendent of the mind or the will; but slothfulness and and degree of the quality : idle expresses less than sluggishness are purely the offspring of nature, or,
lazy, and lazy less than indolent: one is termed idle which is the same thing, habit superinduced upon
who will do nothing useful; one is lazy who will do nature. A man of a mild character is frequently nothing at all' without great reluctance; one is ininactive; he wants that ardor which impels perpetually dolent who does not care to do any thing or set about to action ; he wishes for nothing with sufficient warmth any thing. There is no direct inaction in the idler ; to make action agreeable; he is therefore inactive by for a child is idle who will not learn his lesson, but he a natural consequence;
is active enough in that which pleases himself: there
is an aversion to corporeal action in a laxy man, but Virtue conceal'd within our breast
not always to mental action ; he is lazy at work, lazy Is inactivity at best. Swift.
in walking, or lazy in sitting ; but he may not object Hence the term inactive is properly applied to
to any employment, such as reading or thinking, which
leaves his body entirely at rest : an indolent man, on matter ;
the contrary, fails in activity from a defect both in the What laws are these? instruct us if you can;
mind and the body; he will not only not move, but he There's one design'd for brutes, and one for man,
will not even think, if it give him trouble; and trifling Another guides inactive matter's course. JenyNS. exertions of any kind are sufficient, even in prospect,
to deter him from attempting to move. Some diseases, particularly of the melancholy kind, Idleness is common to the young and the thoughtare accompanied with a strong degree of inertness ; less, to such as have not steadiness of mind to set a since they seem to deprive the frame of its ordinary value on any thing which may be acquired by exertion powers to action, and to produce a certain degree of and regular employment; the idle man is opposed to torpor. Hence the term is employed to express a one that is diligent'; As pride is sometimes hid under want of the power of action in the strongest possible humility, idleness is often covered by turbulence and