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Jejune

Jejune may mean 1.) simple, unsophisticated, naive 2.) superficial 3.) uninteresting, insipid 4.) insubstantial, unsatisfying 5.) without nourishment. Jejune is an adjective, related words are jejunely, jejuneness. The word jejune first came into the English language in the 1600s from the Latin word jejunus which means empty stomach. At that time, the primary definition of jejune was fasting. Within time jejune took on the figurative meaning of something insubstantial or unsatisfying. From there, jejune also came to describe things that are mentally unsatisfying, things that are uninteresting or unsophisticated, and finally, people who are uninteresting or unsophisticated. The word jejune has steadily dropped in popularity since the eighteenth century, yet interestingly, its meaning has evolved from a very literal definition to a more figurative meaning.


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Examples

The world may still think of her as a jejune 17-year-old, but Martha is now 19, with the poise of someone a decade older. (The Daily Mail)

The most jejune of these is that the AKP bribes people by handing out free groceries and/or coal for household heating and/or washing machines at election times. (The International Socialism Journal)

The statement looks jejune next to Powell’s interesting descriptions of the cultural differences in improvisation across western and Arabic music. (The Financial Times)

Yet while “Sunset Boulevard” is narrated by Holden’s screenwriter after he dies, Thomas appears to have a pulse, though the opening interview, with its jejune braggadocio and world weariness, suggests that something in him — artistic drive, a sense of purpose — has died. (The New York Times)

As a kid, I loved Star Wars, sure, but then I entered college and realized that Hollywood stuff like that was jejune. (The National Post)

Hornaday commends the film for its feminist politics and the fact that filmgoers get to see “a genuine friendship between a grown man and younger woman, uncontaminated by jejune cliches or icky innuendo.” (The Los Angeles Times)

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