Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Entry: amanuensis (n.)

In context: "(Rodney Tine, Sr., Chief of Unspecific Services, acknowledged architect of O.N.A.N and continental Reconfiguration, who held the ear of the White House of U.S.A., and whose stenographer had long double as the stenography-cum-jeune-fille-de-Vendredri of M. DuPlessis, former asst. coordinator of the pan-Canadian Resistance, and whose passionate, ill-disguised attachment (Tine's) to this double-amanuensis - one Mlle. Luria Perec, of Lamartine, county L'Islet Québec - gave rise to these questions of the high-level loyalties of Tine, whether he 'doubled' for Québec out of the love for Luria or 'tripled' the loyalties, pretending only to divulge secrets while secretly maintaining his U.S.A. fealty against the pull of an irresistible love, it is said.)"

DefinitionOne who copies or writes from the dictation of another.

Other: The word is familiar to me, either from reading Walter Benjamin, or from reading related secondary literature.  For some reason, though, I feel that the definition is a bit of a let-down for such a strange and interesting-looking word.

If you haven't played Scrabble very much you might not immediately recall that the board is 15x15.  Playing a 15-letter word is exceedingly rare - the first I remember seeing was MICROEARTHQUAKE.  You can see how that was built of smaller words.  Out of curiosity, I checked what 15 letter words can be built with AMANUENSIS and any of 5 letters, and they're all pretty cool and surprisingly non-esoteric:


SNOOT score: 3

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

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