Saturday, 31 March 2012

Entry: decoct (v.)


In context: "Pemulis's snort sounds like the letter K.  'Get a large economy-size clue, Axhandle.  Nobody here'd have any clue what they'd even be dealing with.  Not to mention be willing to pay what they're worth.  Why, there are pharmaceutical museums, left-wing think tanks, New York designer-drug consortiums I'm sure'd be dying to dissect these. Decoct like.  Toss into the spectrometer and see what's what."

Definition: 1. To boil down or away; to concentrate by boiling. Obs.

Other:

SNOOT score: 1

Page:212
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Entry: autolyzed (adj.)


In context: "Any number of good old U.S.N. anchors, and in Irish Boston sooty green shamrocks, and several little frozen tableaux of little khaki figures in G.I. helmets plunging bayonets into the stomachs of hideous urine-yellow bucktoothed Oriental caricatures, and screaming eagles with their claws faded blunt, and SEMPER FI, all autolyzed to the point where the tattoos look like they're just under the surface of a murky-type pond."

Definition: From autolysis (n.): The destruction of cells or tissues by enzymes present within them, occurring after death or as part of a pathological process.


Other:

SNOOT score: 1

Page:209
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Friday, 30 March 2012

Entry: gestalt (n.)


In context: See previous' previous.

Definition: A ‘shape’, ‘configuration’, or ‘structure’ which as an object of perception forms a specific whole or unity incapable of expression simply in terms of its parts (e.g. a melody in distinction from the notes that make it up)


Other: What a beautifully-written definition. 

SNOOT score: 3

Page: 208
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Entry: mucronate (adj.)


In context: See previous.

Definition: Terminating in a point; having a mucro.


Other:That's simple and to the...


Nevermind.

SNOOT score: 1

Page:208
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Thursday, 29 March 2012

Entry: gonfalonish (adj.)


In context: "On Skull's back a half-m.-long skeleton in a black robe and a cowl playing the violin in the wind of a crag with THE DEAD in maroon on a vertical gonfalonish banner unfurling below; on one biceps either an icepick or a mucronate dagger, and down both forearms a kind of St. Vitus's dance of leather-winged dragons with the words - on both forearms - HOW DO YOU LIK YOUR BLUEYED BOY NOW MR DETH!?, the typos of which, Tiny felt, only served to heighten Skull's whole general tatt-gestalt's intended effect, which Tiny presume was to repel."

Definition: From gonfalon (n.): A banner or ensign, frequently composed of or ending in several tails or streamers, suspended from a cross-bar instead of being directly fastened to the pole, esp. as used by various Italian republics or in ecclesiastical processions.

Other:  Definition was a bit of a surprise - I had assumed that the term was in some way pejorative. 


A part of me cringes any time I see a writer, DFW or otherwise, attempting to mimic someone else's typos/spelling mistakes. 

SNOOT score: 1


Page:208
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Entry: ablated (adj.)


In context: "Current female live-in Staff Johnette Foltz has undergone two of the six painful procedures required to have the snarling orange-and-blue tiger removed from her left forearm and so now has a snarling tiger minus a head and one front leg, with the ablated parts looking like someone determined has been at her forearm with steel wool."

Definition: From ablate (v.):  1. trans. To take away, remove. Also intr. Now rare., and/or  2. trans. Surg. To cut away, remove, or destroy (tissue); to perform ablation.


Other:  I was curious as to the cost of tattoo ablation, so did a bit of poking around.  What I came across, instead, were several at-home removal products.  Which, all in all, sounds like substituting one poor decision for another.

SNOOT score: 2


Page:208
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Entry: hyperemic (n.)


In context: "Ennet House alumnus and volunteer counselor Calvin Thrust is quietly rumored to have on the shaft of his formerly professional porn-cartridge-performer's Unit a tattoo that displays the magiscule initials CT when the Unit is flaccid and the full name CALVIN THRUST when hyperemic."

Definition: An excessive accumulation of blood in a particular part, arising either from increased flow through the arteries ( active hyperaemia or arterial hyperaemia) or from obstruction in a vein ( passive hyperaemia or venous hyperaemia); congestion.

Other:Lucky fellow.

SNOOT score: 1

Page:208
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Entry: scrofulous (adj.)


In context: "First there are the younger scrofulous boneheaded black-T-shirt-and-spiked-braclet types who do not have the the sense to regret the impulsive permanency of their tatts, and will show them off to you with the same fake-quiet pride with which someone more of Ewell's own social stratum would show off their collection of Dynastic crockery or fine Sauvignon."


Definition: Caused by, or of the nature of scrofula.

Scrofula (n.):   A constitutional disease characterized mainly by chronic enlargement and degeneration of the lymphatic glands


Other:  DFW is reaching here a bit.  I looked up the symptoms of scrofula, and can't find anything that would make this sentence make sense.


Oh wait.


Always check the entire list of definitions.


fig. Of literature, etc.: Morally corrupt.


So it turns out the word is perfectly cromulent.


SNOOT score: 1

Page:206
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Entry: papular (adj.)


In context: "Or for instance that people addicted to a Substance who abruptly stop ingesting the Substance offer suffer wicked papular acne, often for months afterward, as the accumulations of the Substance slowly leave the body."

Definition:   Consisting of papules; of the nature of or bearing papules.

Other: I'm eating a late dinner as I write these, so just a great word to have scheduled.  Anyways:


1988   Update 1 Mar. 1877/2   Papular urticaria is the most frequent response to arthropod bites, and is usually described by the patient as ‘heat bumps’.

SNOOT score: 1

Page:200 (!!!)
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Entry: scabrous (adj.)


In context: See previous.

Definition: Rough with minute points or knobs, as distinguished from unevenness of surface: esp. Natural Hist. and Physiol.

Other: A number of fun alternative definitions for this one:


In fig. phr. with reference to caustic writing.

Of an author, his composition or style: Harsh, unmusical, unpolished.

Full of obstacles, difficult, ‘thorny’.

Risky, bordering upon the indelicate. Now freq. used in various extended senses: nastily abusive, disgusting, repulsive.


SNOOT score: 2

Page: 197
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Monday, 26 March 2012

Entry: mansard (n.)


In context: "Unit #6, right up against the ravine on the end of the rutted road's east side, is Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House, three stories of whitewashed New England brick with the brick showing in patches through the whitewash, a mansard roof that sheds green shingles, a scabrous fire escape at each upper window and a back door no resident is allowed to use and a front office around on the south side with huge protruding bay windows that yield a view of ravine-weeds and the unpleasant stretch of Commonwealth Ave."

Definition: A roof which has four sloping and hipped sides, each of which becomes steeper halfway (or part-way) down. Also (Brit.): a two-sided roof each side of which becomes steeper halfway down, freq. between parapet walls or over gable walls at each end. Also fig.

Other: A word I know of, but didn't look up the meaning to, from the song Mansard Roof by Vampire Weekend.  And I know of the band because what self-respecting SNOOT wouldn't check out a song called "Oxford Comma."


Here's a picture of one.


SNOOT score: 1

Page: 197
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary, Wikipedia


Entry: aminating (v.)


In context: "The addict from New Bedford picked up the aminating needle a couple weeks after that anyway and was discovered by a night staffer simultaneously playing air-guitar and polishing the lides of all of the donated canned goods in the House pantry way after lights out, stark naked and sheened with meth-sweat, and after the formality of a Urine she was given the old administrative boot - over a quarter of incoming Ennet House residents get discharged for a dirty Urine within their first third days, and it's the same at all other Boston halfway houses - and the girl ended up back in New Bedford, and then within like three hours of hitting the streets got picked up by New Bedford's Finest on an old default warrant and sent to Framingham's Women's for a 1-to-2 bit, and got found one morning in her bunk with a kitchen-rigged shiv protruding from her privates and another in her neck and a thoroughly eliminated personal map, and Gately's individual counselor Gene M. brought Gately the news and invited him to see the methedrine addict's demise as a clear case of There But For the Grade of God Goeth D. W. Gately."

Definition: Chemistry, to introduce an amino group into (a compound).

Other


SNOOT score: 1

Page: 195
 
Source: Dictionary.com

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Entry: crosiers (n.)


In context: "It's minor-key enough to be eerie against the empty lilt of the voice and the clinks of tines and china as Mario's relations eat turkey salad and steamed crosiers and drink lager and milk and vin blanc from Hull over behind the plants bathed in purple light."

Definition: Well, there are a number of divergent possible definitions, but presumably this:


The flat convolute shell of the cephalopod Spirula.

Other:  I still sometimes forget one of the four anagrams when studying:


CIRROSE
CORRIES
CROSIER
CIRROSE


SNOOT score: 1

Page: 190
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Entry: oubliettes (n.)


In context: See previous.

Definition: A secret dungeon with access only through a trapdoor in its ceiling. Now chiefly in extended use.

Other:  How cool is this?


< French oubliette (late 14th cent. in Middle French, 1536 in figurative use) < oublier to forget (c1000 in Old French as oblider ; 

SNOOT score: 2

Page: 190
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Saturday, 24 March 2012

Entry: lazarettes (n.)


In context: "Leave your lazarettes and oubliettes."

Definition: From lazaretto (n.): house for the reception of the diseased poor, esp. lepers; a hospital, pest-house. (Chiefly used with reference to foreign countries.)

Other: Also, helpfully from dictionary.com, "Also called glory hole. Nautical . a small storeroom within the hull of a ship, especially one at the extreme stern. "


SNOOT score: 2

Page: 190
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Entry: apochromatic (adj.)


In context: See previous.

Definition: Epithet of an improved form of achromatic lens invented by Abbe. Also as n., an apochromatic lens; in Photogr. further shortened to   ˈapochroˌmat n. So   apoˈchromatism n. apochromatic condition or quality.

Other:  Pretty obvious, right?

SNOOT score: 1

Page:188
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Friday, 23 March 2012

Entry: aphotic (adj.)


In context: "...all the hardware required for everything from aphotic to apochromatic lenswork were and are pretty much right there in the lab.."

Definition:   Not reached by sunlight

Other:  Super cool.  I completely whiffed on the etymology:


< a- prefix6 + photic adj.

SNOOT score: 3

Page:188
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Entry: sulci (n.)


In context:  See previous.

Definition: From sulcus: A groove or furrow in a body, organ, or tissue.

Other:

SNOOT score: 1

Page:186
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Thursday, 22 March 2012

Entry: pia meter (n.)


In context: "The Union's soft latex-polymer roof is cerebrally domed and a cloud pia mater pink except in spots where it's eroded down to pasty gray, and everywhere textured, the bulging rooftop, with sulci and bulbous convolutions."

Definition: The innermost of the three meninges, consisting of a thin, vascular, fibrous membrane which is closely applied to the surface of the brain and spinal cord.

Other: I'm fine if you just take Wallace's word for the colour of the pia meter.  Really.

SNOOT score: 1

Page:186
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Entry: parietal (n. / adj.)


In context: "The engineer always has to tighten his own headset's cranial band down from the 'Those Were' engineer's mammoth parietal breadth."

Definition: A large quadrangular bone, located between the frontal and occipital bones, that forms part of the top and lateral wall of each half of the skull.

Other:  I sometimes feel a little like these physiological terms don't have a whole lot of everyday or even every-other-day utility.

SNOOT score: 1

Page: 183
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Entry: limned (v.)


In context: "Her silhouette is cleanly limned against the screen, sitting cross-legged in its insectile microphonic headset, smoking."

Definition: †Illuminated (obs.); painted, depicted, portrayed.

Other:Pretty.

SNOOT score: 3

Page:183
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Entry: laryngeally (adj.)


In context: "The studio's walls are pink and laryngeally fissured."

Definition: From laryngeal (adj.): Of or pertaining to the larynx; e.g. laryngeal muscle, laryngeal nerve. Of a disease: Affecting or seated in the larynx. Of an instrument: Used in treating or examining the larynx.

Other:

SNOOT score: 1

Page:182
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Entry: corpus callosum (n.)


In context: It really won't help.  Wallace is being pretty metaphorical here - he's talking about physical design of certain buildings at M.I.T. 

Definition: The corpus callosum (Latin: tough body), also known as the colossal commissure, is a wide, flat bundle of neural fibers beneath the cortex in the eutherian brain at the longitudinal fissure. It connects the left and right cerebral hemispheres and facilitates interhemispheric communication. It is the largest white matter structure in the brain, consisting of 200–250 million contralateral axonal projections.

Other:  From the Wikipedia entry: The corpus callosum is found only in placental mammals (the eutherians), while it is absent in monotremes and marsupials,[3] as well as other vertebrates such as birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish

SNOOT score: 1

Page:182
 
Source: Wikipedia


Entry: apotheosizing (v.)


In context: "The radio show right before Madame Psychosis's midnight show on M.I.T.'s semi-underground WYYY is 'Those Were the Legends that Formerly Were,' one of those cruel tech-collegiate formats where any U.S. student who wants to can dart over from the super-collider lab or the Fourier Transforms study group for fifteen minutes and read on-air some parodic thing where he'd pretend to be his own dad apotheosizing some sort of thick-necked historic athletic figure the dad'd admired and had by implication compared with woeful distaste to the pencil-necked big-headed asthmatic little kid staring up through Coke-bottle lenses from his digital keyboard."

Definition:   To elevate to, or as if to, the rank of a god; to deify, glorify, exalt.

Other:  Great word!

Oh snap:


1858   R. A. Vaughan Ess. & Remains I. 8   The philosophical school of Alexandria had become extinct, and there was no apotheosis.

SNOOT score: 3

Page: 182
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Monday, 19 March 2012

Entry: formication (v.)


In context: "Did I experience yes some formication in detox?"

Definition: An abnormal sensation as of ants creeping over the skin.

Other: While probably not the worst symptom/consequence of severe chemical addiction, likely one of the creepiest.  (Yes I did!)


Oh, and: "...I did.  I have no problem forthrightly admitting things I can grasp.  Formicate, with an m, yes."

SNOOT score: 2

Page:177
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Entry: trochaically (adj.)


In context: See previous previous previous.

Definition: From trochaic (adj.): Of a verse, rhythm, etc.: Consisting of, characterized by, or based on trochees.

Other:

SNOOT score: 1

Page:174
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Entry: fricatives (n.)


In context: See previous previous.

Definition: Of a consonant-sound: Produced by the friction of the breath through a narrow opening between two of the mouth-organs.

Other:  This usage sounds a lot more vulgar than it is:


1883   I. Taylor Alphabet I. iii. §3. 181   Cheth‥a ‘fricative faucal’, was a strongly marked continuous guttural sound produced at the back of the palate.

SNOOT score: 1

Page:174
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Entry: formants (n.)


In context: See previous.

Definition: The characteristic pitch of a vowel-sound; spec. one of several characteristic bands of resonance, a combination of which determines the distinctive sound-quality of a vowel (or transf., of a musical instrument).

Other:  I find linguistic terms much more interesting to learn than I do medical/physiological terms.  Good - there are a few more coming.

SNOOT score: 1

Page:174
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Saturday, 17 March 2012

Entry: phonemes (n.)


In context: "By repeating this term ['justifying your seed' - JM] over and over, perhaps in the same rhythm at which you squeeze a ball, you can reduce it to an empty series of phonemes, just formants and fricatives, trochaically stressed, signifying zip."

Definition: A unit of sound in a language that cannot be analysed into smaller linear units and that can distinguish one word from another (e.g. /p/ and /b/ in English pat, bat).


Also, very interestingly: Psychiatry. An hallucination in which voices are heard. rare.

Other:  The phenomenon Wallace is talking about, reducing a word through repetition to meaninglessness, was one of my earliest interesting experiences with language. 

SNOOT score: 1

Page:174
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Entry: stevedore (n.)


In context: "Squeeze the tennis ball rhythmically month after year until you feel it no more than your heart squeezing blood and your right forearm is three times the size of your left and your arm looks from across the court like a gorilla's arm or a stevedore's arm pasted on the body of a child."

Definition: A workman employed either as overseer or labourer in loading and unloading the cargoes of merchant vessels.

Other: Also a stowdore, which is a clearer indication of the word's meaning.

SNOOT score: 1

Page:173
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Entry: sobriquet (n.)


In context: "Something so much an extension of you deserves a sobriquet."

Definition:   An epithet, a nickname.

Other:  One of Lenz's sobriquet's, self-described and physiologically specific, is The Frightful Hog.

SNOOT score: 2

Page:173
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary