Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Words of the Day

All of today's words are from The Sparrow.

1. Arrogate. "'During these months and for all time,' he told Sandoz, 'you will cease to arrogate to yourself responsibility that lies elsewhere.'" Clearly "arrogate" must mean "apply" or "assign," but I'd never heard the word before. I have, however, heard of the word "abrogate," though I don't know what that means either, so apparently I'll have to look that one up too. Webster says: To claim or seize without justification; to make undue claims to having; to assume or ascribe. I'm taking the point, but subtracting 0.15 because I didn't get the connotation that it's without justification. Moving on: to abrogate is to abolish by authoritative action; annul; to do away with. And, just for funsies, to abnegate is to surrender, relinquish, deny or renounce. So now you're all set for the next time you're doing a crossword puzzle and you need an eight-letter word that starts with "a" and ends in "gate."

2. Beatific. "But George was starting to laugh and Emilio looked positively beatific." I'm not sure of its exact meaning, but I'm fairly certain it's a facial expression used to describe the way the Virgin Mary smiles. And evidently people only look this way when they're pretty happy. Webster says: Having a blissful or benign appearance; saintly, angelic. Ha! Just like the Virgin Mary. One point.

3. Charism. "It was easy to believe that to live as a celibate was a charism--a special kind of grace." Did the book just define the word for me? I would have thought "charism" was derived from the word "charisma," meaning a magnetic personality, though I've never heard it used without an "a" on the end. Webster says: Charisma and charism are the same thing. The definition I knew is "a special magnetic charm or appeal," but I think the one implied in The Sparrow is one I didn't know: an extraordinary power (as of healing) given a Christian by the Holy Spirit for the good of the church. So, half a point for knowing the common meaning of "charisma" but not knowing the rest of it.

4. Soutane. "Barelegged and barefoot, Sandoz was tanned to the color of cinnamon, wearing the loose khaki shorts and oversized black T-shirt that had replaced the soutane, impossibly hot in this climate." Obviously some article of clothing worn by a priest, and something that doesn't allow much of a breeze through it. I will guess that a "soutane" is a heavy priestly robe. More specifically, one of those that looks like a brown burlap bag with a hood, like what I picture Friar Tuck wearing. Webster says: Cassock. An ankle-length garment with close-fitting sleeves worn especially in Roman Catholic and Anglican churches by the clergy and by laymen assisting in services. That does not tell me about the color, texture or hoodedness, but in perusing google images, it appears that a cassock more closely resembles something Severus Snape would wear as opposed to Friar Tuck. Three quarters of a point.

5. Immanent. "God is not everywhere. God is not immanent." This is not to be confused with "imminent," which is the same as "impending" (if less likely to be followed by "doom") and obviously doesn't fit the context. Judging by its use, I'm guessing that "immanent" means "everywhere at once." Perhaps "immanent" and "omnipresent" are synonyms. Webster says: Remaining or operating within a domain of reality or realm of discourse; inherent; having existence or effect only within the mind or consciousness. No points! In fact, I should probably get negative points for being so completely wrong, but I don't want to.

A hard-earned 3.1 points out of five. I'm going outside to play.


Amanda said...

Love 4 and 5, you make me laugh the way you argue with yourself! I might have thought omnipresent too, but the sentence doesn't give much context clue, would need more to go on. And now I know what the heck Snape has been wearing all these years. I love the way he flips the back around when he arrive somewhere.

Priya Parmar said...

i always love reading your words and guesses! i would never have guessed the first or last and would have gotten even fewer points!

Kathy said...

I'm glad you enjoy my dictionary days. It's one of those things I hesitated to blog about at first because I didn't want to bore you guys. ;)