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Latin ōscitātiō, from ōscitō (to gape).


  • IPA(key): /ˌɒsɪˈteɪʃən/


oscitation (plural oscitations)

  1. The act of yawning or gaping. Also figuratively.
    • September 2, 1709, Joseph Addison, The Tatler No. 63
      But I shall defer considering this subject at large, until I come to my treatise of oscitation, laughter, and ridicule.
    • 1547, A. Borde, Bill Long, editor, Breuiary of Helthe[1], published 2006:
      Ossitacio is the latyn worde..In englysh it is named ossitacion yeanynge or gapynge.
  2. (obsolete) The condition of being listless, drowsy, negligent, or inattentive; an occurrence of such negligence or inattention.
    • 1744, “Letters of Mrs. Carter and Miss Talbot”, in The Eclectic review[2], volume 4, London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, published 1808, page 980:
      These transient fits of oscitation, and inactivity, are perhaps no more than a necessary relaxation to the mind, and serve to quicken its faculties to a more lively sensation of returning pleasure.