Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Words of the Day
I am coming to the end of my List of Words to Look Up. After these five, I still have three to go. But never fear . . . this is the sort of list that will never truly end. At least until I learn all the words.
1. Deliquescing. Charlie St. Cloud. "Soon, when they were ready to go on to the next level, they would fade away, deliquescing like mist in the sun." It must mean melting or burning off. Seems tediously obvious, just like the rest of that book. Webster says: Becoming liquid by absorbing moisture from the air, as certain salts; melting away. Mmmmhmmm! One point.
2. Coruscated (not corrugated). I didn't write down where I found this word, but I did write down "sounds like scolding." I don't know if this was a guess according to context, or if that guess was really just based on the sound of the word. But it does sound kind of harsh and abrasive. And since I really have no clue what the word might mean, especially with no context, I'll go with harsh, abrasive scolding. Webster says: Gave off or reflected light in bright beams or flashes; sparkled. I don't think I could have been more wrong! No points for this one.
3. Adumbrates. I actually marked down where I found this word! It was in Lolita, on page 36 . . . but I didn't keep the book. OK, I'm going out on a limb here, but I think the prefix ad- means drawing towards, and an "umbra" is kind of like a shadow . . . and I still have no idea what this word might mean. A shadow going towards something? Webster says: Foreshadows vaguely; suggests, discloses, or outlines partially; overshadows, obscures. One tenth of a point for saying "shadow," which is kind of like "foreshadow" . . .
4. Obdurate. The Age of Innocence. (Can you believe I still have two more Words to Look Up from that book? Go Edith!) "It was the note the family had taken to sounding on the mention of the Countess Olenska's name, since she had surprised and inconvenienced them by remaining obdurate to her husband's advances." Stubborn? I think I am mixing it up with obstinate. Resistant or opposed to? Webster says: stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing; hardened in feelings; resistant to persuasion or softening influences. I say I get a whole point for that one.
5. Probity. The Age of Innocence. "So far there had been no exception to its tacit rule that those who broke the law of probity must pay." Solvency? Webster says: Adherence to the highest principles and ideals. I'm taking a half a point, because someone who adheres to the highest principles and ideals would be solvent, right? Yeah, maybe it's a stretch, but hey--stretching is good for you.