Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Softness; luxuriousness.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Softness; effeminacy; weakness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Softness; effeminacy.

Etymologies

From Latin mollitūdō, from mollis ("soft"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It is true that нега has two distinct nuances: voluptuous languor and simple enjoyment; but, instead of using any of the obvious equivalents, Mr. Nabokov has dug up from the dictionary the rare and obsolete mollitude, a word which his readers can never have encountered but which he uses for the first of these meanings; and for the second he has discovered dulcitude.

    The Strange Case of Pushkin and Nabokov

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Comments

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  • I suppose if anyone besides Shakespeare can make up his own words and meanings for words, it would be Nabokov.

    April 23, 2009

  • "In the case of the common word нега, Nabokov has surpassed himself in oddity. It is true that нега has two distinct nuances: voluptuous languor and simple enjoyment; but, instead of using any of the obvious equivalents, Mr. Nabokov has dug up from the dictionary the rare and obsolete mollitude, a word which his readers can never have encountered but which he uses for the first of these meanings; and for the second he has discovered dulcitude. One wonders how Nabokov would translate the last line of Pushkin's famous lyric, published after his death, 'Пора, мой друг, пора'...'В обитель дальную трудов и чи�?тых нег.' 'To a faraway haven of work and pure mollitudes'? 'dulcitudes'?"
    – Edmund Wilson, in a scathing review of Nabokov's translation of Eugene Onegin, "The Strange Case of Pushkin and Nabokov," The New York Review of Books 4, no. 12 (July 15, 1965).

    Nabokov seems to have developed his own meaning for the word "mollitude", which dictionaries indicate mean "softness, effeminacy, weakness"; he seems, in the quote from Ada, or, Ardor, cited by Yarb, to have in mind something more like the Russian word нега (nega), which in Russian romantic poetry usually refers to sensual pleasure.

    April 23, 2009

  • From the same root as mollusk!

    June 3, 2008

  • ...the luxury and mollitude of my first Villa Venus.

    - Nabokov, Ada, or Ardor

    June 3, 2008