"STICKTOITIVENESS." "Is there such a word?"
With a very large capital Y, unlettered youth, we answer that there is. The dictionary makers simply do not display it all under one tent; they dismember it and scatter it to the four winds of their definitive pages; it is found intact only in the valuable vocabularies of certain wise men. It should be found in all vocabularies.
Perhaps you haven't such a thing as a vocabulary, Augustus? Well, well then, never mind; that Sticktoitiveness is a word---dictionaries to the contrary, notwithstanding--you may rest assured, and a word to which you should swear at once, and with bitter earnestness, unswerving and indissoluble allegiance. It is a WORD, Gus, and it ought to be graven upon every page of your copy-book. Lay your hand, therefore, in the palpitating region of your lower left-hand, vest-pocket and swear---hold! Just one minute, Gus. Have you contracted the baneful habit of inviting to the theatre young ladies who wear bonnets like that? Miserable youth You cannot answer! Enough! Do not swear! Do not swear---for-swear .
[see her hat here]
FWIW, the OED concurs, but spells it "stick-to-it-iveness." First recorded usage is in 1867 in E. B. Custer's "Tenting on Plains"ReplyDelete
I found this while looking for earlier cites in Google Books for Wiktionary. Alas, I don't have easy access to the OED.
Looking around at news sites, it looks like the hyphenated version is coming back into style.
(Incidentally, the earliest I found was 1871, The Indiana School Journal,
'There is no success like "sticktoitiveness."')