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malechi commented on the word post chaise
This came up frequently while I was reading "The Count of Monte Cristo". Everybody in the novel seemed to be tearing around Paris in a post chaise. (I think it is sometimes hyphenated as post-chaise.) It made me think of chaise lounge, which is something rather different.
May 26, 2013
malechi commented on the user malechi
Actually, I'm an anagram....
January 5, 2009
malechi commented on the word illapse
"What moves thee, if the senses stir not? Light/Moves thee from Heaven, spontaneous, self-inform'd;/Or, likelier, gliding down with swift illapse/By will divine."
--Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
Hmm, gliding into something.... I recall driving a Volkswagen on a gusty winter night in upstate New York and gliding off the road into a snowbank. Car, passenger and driver were unharmed in this illapse.
malechi commented on the word gobemouche
Literally, this word refers to someone who swallows flies, that is, someone whose mouth is always open -- a silly, gullible person or a boor. It's also the name for a type of bird.
January 1, 2009
malechi commented on the list malechis-list
Meaning: upside down?
"...he was a botcher, cheese-eater, and trimmer of mans flesh imbalmed, which in the arsiversie swagfall tumble was not found true."
--François Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel
I think this word means "upside down." It's hard to find a definition for it.... I've always enjoyed looking at the topsy-turvy sky and world you can see on the surface of a calm lake. One dropped pebble and the universe is destroyed in a burst of concentric circles.
December 17, 2008
malechi commented on the word incunabulum
A book printed before the 16th century; artwork from an early period
"'It's a long story, Sergeant. A few months ago we had a rare book stolen from this room. A beautiful old Tier Buch -- a book of animals -- an incunabulum.'"
--Carey Magoon, I Smell the Devil
I attended an antiques fair a few months ago in upstate New York. There were many old books there -- though not as old as incunabula. The aroma of musty, falling-apart books invokes the past like nothing else, I think. Nostalgia stinks?
December 8, 2008
malechi commented on the word susurrus
"Gentle winds had lulled the swell and the continual susurrus of the south wind enticed them towards the deep."
--Virgil, The Aeneid
I like "white noise", and the susurrus of a white noise CD I have often entices me towards the deep -- deep sleep, that is.
malechi commented on the word scuppernong
"Maudie Atkinson told me you broke down her scuppernong arbor this morning. She's going to tell your father and then you'll wish you'd never seen the light of day!"
--Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
I read To Kill a Mockingbird a long time ago, but whenever I hear the title, I think of the film and Gregory Peck, a great actor and orator. I never get tired of hearing his voice.
malechi commented on the word coryza
"The planet Pluto is so far away, and isolated from the sun, it is said, that it produces coryza tempratures."
--Angel Steinborn, Urban Dictionary
Of course, Pluto isn't a planet anymore; it's been downgraded by astronomers to a dwarf planet, or minor planet. (I would prefer to call it a planetoid, just because I like the sound of that.) It's essentially a celestial snowball, probably with a rock in the center -- the kind of thing the bully down the street threw at you in when you were a kid, just because he hated your snowsuit.
malechi commented on the word sprezzatura
"To get an idea of this sprezzatura at work...one need only recall some of the supreme moments of comic films."
--Gerald Mast, The Comic Mind: Comedy and the Movies
"What, the curtains?"
malechi commented on the word cavil
To object in a trivial way or for trivial reasons
"Tutor: ....So, in a word, you stand head and shoulders above the ruck and, what's more, you could hold a chair of philosophy or architecture in a great university. And yet you cavil at your lot!
Orestes: No, I do not cavil. What should I cavil at? You've left me free as the strands torn by the winds form spiders' webs that one sees floating ten feet above the ground. I'm light as gossamer and walk on air."
--Jean Paul Sartre, The Flies
malechi commented on the word salubrious
"You'd better be. If he loses his temper and throws us off the case, we're going to have to start looking for new premises in a less salubrious part of town."
"I didn't think there was a less salubrious part of town."
"My point exactly."
--Alastair Reynolds, Century Rain
malechi commented on the word clinquant
Glittering, but usually in a false or cheap way, like tinsel
"No, there are too many of these fine sparks you talk of who perhaps may be very clinquant, slight, and bright and make a very pretty show at first, but the tinsel-gentlemen do so tarnish in the wearing, there's no enduring them."
--Thomas Shadwell, The Virtuoso
I once had a cat that liked to eat the tinsel (of the "icicle" type) off the Christmas tree. Maybe he had an iron deficiency. Anyway, he always threw it up later, in a sort of shiny hairball, which was both pretty from a distance and disgusting close up -- like many things, I guess.
malechi commented on the word roun
A whisper, or to whisper.
"Another rouned to his fellow low."
An obsolete word, replaced by "whisper." Why do words fall out of favor? In this case, maybe because "whisper," with its S sound, actually sounds more like a whisper.
I remember a game we used to play as kids: tell a friend you have a secret and then just make a pssst pssst sound in his or her ear, making the friend giggle and driving the other kids crazy. ("What is it? What is it?")
malechi commented on the word cynosure
"Ransom could see that, according to a phrase which came back to him just then, oddly, out of some novel or poem he had read of old, she was the cynosure of every eye."
--Henry James, The Bostonians
My favorite Henry James work is The Turn of the Screw, one of the few ghost stories that is truly scary and disturbing -- mostly because it's impossible to know exactly what is going on in the story. Ambiguity can be more frightening than any monster.
Words are flowing out like an aribica drip into a coffee cup.
December 7, 2008
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