She yawned, pandiculating. Is this something you can see your heroine doing in your latest WIP? Well, what is pandiculating anyway?
"You do this. You just don't know that you do. When you're tired to
the extent of yawning in fatigue, you may stretch your arms and
neck to ease them. That's pandiculation. Writers have been known to use the word just for yawning, but properly that's an associated action, not the thing itself. This example might be correct, or it might not, it's hard to say."
So says Michael Quinion* in his weekly 'World Wide Words'. He goes on:
"It comes, as you might guess, from Latin - from "pandiculatus", the past participle of pandiculari", to stretch oneself. The ultimate origin is the verb "pandere", to stretch. That verb has also given us "expand", plus some other much rarer words.
"Pandiculation" isn't encountered often. But variations on it were once used for a quack remedy:
'Pandiculate for Health! Grow Tall! Get Well! Be Young!' Exuberant ads like this, running in health-fad magazines since 1914, have proclaimed the virtues of a spine-stretching device called the "Pandiculator." The Post Office last fortnight barred the promoter of this fraud from using the U.S. mail."
Let's not go there. Let's just stick with our weary heroine, yawning and pandiculating!
*Thanks to Michael Quinion of WORLD WIDE WORDS. World Wide Words is copyright (c) Michael Quinion 2009. All rights reserved. The Words Web site is at http://www.worldwidewords.org