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luckylefty
Vocabulary quiz 
15th-Dec-2009 01:03 am
slanty, martha
I just finished a novel that had an unusual number of words that were unfamiliar to me. So I thought I'd see if my friends knew these words. Comments are screened, so you can post definitions without it being a spoiler for others.

One of these is not found in the OED, and is a typo or error; a letter needs to be deleted to produce the intended word (which is used in the book in a sense not listed in the OED, though the intended meaning is clear from context).

For extra credit, can you name the book that contains all these words? It's a fantasy novel from 1981.

horripilated
medicus
percipience*
operose
cerement*
phthisical
orgulous
borborygmic (this one I had heard before, and remembered the meaning given the context, but it's a great word)
rachitic
parterre*

* These three are the only ones that Firefox's and LJ's spell checkers.
Comments 
15th-Dec-2009 01:55 pm (UTC)
I don't know any of those words, nor the novel it's from but I'll guess the author is Gene Wolfe. Heck, I'll even guess Shadow of the Torturer, but you haven't got the word I forget for "blacker than black" listed, so probably it's something else.
15th-Dec-2009 03:40 pm (UTC)
The only one I knew for sure was "horripilated," though I've seen "cerement" before and had just forgotten what it meant.

"Borborygmic" is an awesome word. I'm dying to know what book this is you've been reading!
16th-Dec-2009 03:04 am (UTC)
The only word I knew was 'borborygmic....'
22nd-Dec-2009 05:30 am (UTC)
These words are all fron Little, Big by John Crowley. I like the book a lot for its imagery and characters, but the plot is so hazy as to be practically nonexistent.

I also realized that while I don't mind books with straightforward fantasy elements, I'm often bothered by books where there are supernatural things that have only rare and small effects on the world, and most people don't think that fairies (or ESP or ghosts or whatever it is) exist. There are enough people that believe that this is the actual state of affairs that books that have this as the premise make me feel they want to be actually believed, rather than reflecting inteersting things about our world by the metaphor of a different one. But mostly this makes me dislike the plot, rather than the other aspects of the book, and since Little, Big is so short on plot, it didn't really hurt the book.

horripilated -- goose-pimpled

medicus -- Not in OED. It means "doctor" in Latin. This seems to have been an error or typo; from context, he meant to say "medius", which he is using to mean "digitus medius"; the middle finger, though the only meaning given in the OED is "an alto or tenor part".

percipience -- capacity to percieve

operose -- requiring or involving effort; diligent, busy.

cerement -- a usually waxed winding-sheet

phthisical -- tubercular, weak, enfeebled

orgulous -- proud, haughty, showy

borborygmic -- resembling or pertaining to stomach-rumbling (Isn't this a great word?)

rachitic -- of, pertaining to, or affected by rickets (This one made me realize that I never associated its synonym, rickety, with the disease rickets, since I've almost always seen it used to describe inanimate objects, in a sense that I never realized was metaphoric).

parterre -- a garden having an ornamental and diversified arrangement of beds or plots separated by paths; a level space including a building site; the part of the floor of a theater behind the orchestra.



Edited at 2013-01-23 06:41 pm (UTC)
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