Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Entry: tumbrel (n.)


In context: "And so Joelle van Dyne, a.k.a. Madame P., surrendered, suicidal, eschews tumbrel or hack, her solid clogs sounding formal on the smooth cement down Boylston's sidewalk past fine stores' revolving doors southeast toward serious brownstone-terrain, open coat swirling over poncho and hanging rain breaking stutters and drips.

Definition: DFW is talking here about Joelle giving up cabs in favor of walking post-Incandenza, so I think the most appropriate here is:

A two-wheeled covered cart which carries ammunition, tools, or sometimes money for an army.

But interestingly (and unfortunately short on detail): 

An instrument of punishment, the nature and operation of which in early times is uncertain; from 16th c. usually identified with cucking-stool n., q.v. See also thew n.2, trebuchet n. 4.


Other:

SNOOT score: 1

Page:225
 
Source: Oxford English Dictionary

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