Sunday, 30 September 2012

Entry: mysticetously (adj.)

In context: "Has anyone mentioned Gately's head is square?  It's almost perfectly square, massive and boxy and mysticetously blunt: the head of somebody who looks like he likes to lower his head and charge."

Definition: I found this was pretty confusing, but eventually did track something that appears relevant:

mysticete (n.):   A whale of the suborder Mysticeti of baleen or whalebone whales; spec. the Greenland right whale or bowhead, Balaena mysticetus.

So go ahead and search for pictures of baleen whale heads!

Other:

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 476

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Entry: weal (n.)

In context: "Marathe assumed an expression that lampooned a dullard's hard thought.  'Thus, but how long before these leaks and rumors of p-terminals reach the Ottawa of government and public weal, for Canada's government reacts with horror at the prospect of this.'"

Definition: Contextually. The welfare of a country or community; the general good. Often with defining word, as common, general, public, universal.

also:

Wealth, riches, possessions. Obs.

Welfare, well-being, happiness, prosperity.



Other:

SNOOT score: 2
 
Page: 473

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Friday, 28 September 2012

Entry: approception (n.)

In context: "'...Millon's and Approception tests on all these hordes of prospective volunteers - the hordes were told it was part of the screen - the scores came out fascinatingly, chillingly, average, normal.'"

Definition: A neologism - the closest I can find is apperception (n.):

The mind's perception of itself as a conscious agent; self-consciousness.

Psychol. The action or fact of becoming conscious by subsequent reflection of a perception already experienced; any act or process by which the mind unites and assimilates a particular idea (esp. one newly presented) to a larger set or mass of ideas (already possessed), so as to comprehend it as part of the whole.



Other: Unrelated, but anyway: on page 471, Steeply and Marathe are having a conversation:

"Marathe idly felt at the little pills of cotton in his windbreaker's cotton pockets, pleasantly nodding.  'An experimental program of Canada, you stated.'

'I even remember.  The Brandon Psychiatric Centre.'

Marathe pretended to cough in the recognition of this.  'This is a mental hospital.  The far north of Manitoba.  Forbidding wastelands.  The centre of nothing.'"

Someone is making a mistake here - Brandon is nowhere near the 'far north of Manitoba'!.

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 470

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Entry: ablative (adj.)

In context: "'So but you know of this old program with epileptics?  Experiments they though could avoid ablative surgery for severe epilepsy?'"

Definition

Here:  Surg. Involving or used in the removal or destruction of an organ or tissue.

But also:

Grammar. Designating, being in, or relating to a case of nouns and pronouns, and of words in grammatical agreement with them, in Latin and certain other Indo-European languages, the central function of which is to express direction from a place, and which is expressed in English by ‘by’, ‘with’, or ‘from’.

and:

Of or relating to the action of taking away or removing something; that brings about removal or subtraction. Now rare.



Other:

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 470

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Entry: stereotaxy (n.)

In context: "Steeply said: 'No? Some sort of radical advance.  Stereotaxy.  Epilepsy-treatment.  They proposed to implant tiny little hair-thin electrodes in the brain.'"

Definition: Interestingly, stereotaxy/stereotaxis appears in the OED, but there's isn't a definition.  Let's see what we can find:

stereo (n.): abbreviation of stereoscope n., stereoscopic adj.  stereo card n. a card on which are mounted a pair of stereoscopic photographs.  stereo pair n. a pair of photographs showing the same scene from slightly different points of view, so that when viewed appropriately a single stereoscopic image is seen.

taxis (n.):  A manipulative operation employed for replacing parts which have quitted their natural situation, reducing hernia, etc.


Other: So I'll admit it: today's entry probably wasn't too helpful. 

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 470

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Entry: rictusized (adj.)

In context: "The half of her face that wasn't rictusized was very pretty, and she had very long pretty red hair, and a sexually credible body even though her right arm had atrophied into a kind of semi-claw and the right hand was strapped into this black plastic brace to keep its nail-extensioned fingers from curling in her palm; and Pat walked with a dignified but godawful lurch, dragging a terribly thin right leg in black leather pants behind like something hanging on to her that she was trying to get away from."

Definition: A neologism, referring I would imagine to something that has been formed or otherwise made into a rictus (n.)

With reference to a person: a fixed grimace or grin.

Other:

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 465

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Monday, 24 September 2012

Entry: misprision (n.)

In context: "Everything mental for Gately was kind of befogged and prone to misprision for well into his first year."

Definition: There are a surprising number of (interesting!) definitions for this word.  I'll include several, starting with the most relevant:

More generally: the mistaking of one thing for another; a misunderstanding; a mistake.

Malformation, regarded as a mistake on the part of Nature; an instance of this.

Literary Criticism. Harold Bloom's term for: (an) unconscious misreading or misinterpretation of a text.

Mistaken or unjust suspicion; an instance of this.

Law. A wrongful act or omission; spec. a misdemeanour or failure of duty by a public official.



Other: Happy birthday mom!  (Though, I know you're not reading this - but happy birthday anyway!)

SNOOT score: 2
 
Page: 465

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Entry: hinked (v.)

In context: "Gately now was hinked only about the prospect of getting just one or two AA meetings a week in jail - the only meetings sober inmates get are when an area group comes in on an Institutional Commitment, which Gately's been on - when Demerol and Talwin and good old weed are almost easier to get in jail than in the outside world."

Definition:   hink (v.): intr. ? To halt; to falter.


Other:

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 463

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Entry: baglet (n.)

In context: "The steering wheel is about the size of an old video-arcade game's steering wheel, and the thin canted six-seed shift is encased in a red leather baglet that smells strongly of leather."

Definition:   A small bag.

Other: I can't, off the top of my head, think of a single -let word I actually like.

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 461

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Friday, 21 September 2012

Entry: morendo (adj.)

In context: "Schtitt sweeps the pointer in an ironic morendo arc and laughs aloud: 'Play.'"

Definition:   As a musical direction: with the sound gradually dying away. Also as n.: a style of performance using such an effect.


Other:

SNOOT score: 2
 
Page: 461

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Entry: pirouettic (adj.)

In context: "Pacing gradually faster, the turns becoming pirouettic."

Definition: From pirouette (n. / v.):

Dressage. A full circle move by a horse pivoting on a hind leg while walking or cantering.

and

An act of spinning round on one foot or on the points of the toes, as performed by a ballet dancer, etc. Also more generally: a rapid whirl of the body.



Other:

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 459

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Entry: inbreath (n.)

In context: "Hal's tooth gives off little electric shivers with each inbreath and he feels slightly unwell."

Definition:   A drawing in of the breath.

Other: I think I marked this entry because I a) loved the sentence, and b) was curious if it was in the OED.  It is!  Here is a nice (first) usage:

1921   R. Graves Pier-glass 26   The deep in-breath, The breath roaring out.

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 458

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Entry: fungoes (n.)

In context: "For the tops 18's, prorector R. Dunkel at net with an armful of balls and more in a hopper beside him, hitting fungoes, one to a forehand corner and then one to the backhand corner and then farther out to the forehand corner and so on."

Definition: A training exercise in which a batter tosses a ball into the air and hits it as it descends; a ball hit in such a manner.

Other: Okay, so the definition seems to be baseball-specific, but a good word nonetheless.  I know this one from Scrabble - kind of a neat (uh, fun?) word.  Don't think you can really use it in a SNOOT-approved way, though.

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 457

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Monday, 17 September 2012

Entry: pro forma

In context: "Everyone but Wayne and Stice use the retch-bucket in a sort of pro forma way."

Definition: The term pro forma, Latin for "as a matter of form" or "for the sake of form", is a term applied to practices or documents that are done as a pure formality, perfunctorily, or seek to satisfy the minimum requirements or to conform to a convention or doctrine. It has different meanings in different fields.

Other: Wikipedia has more information, especially of the field or region-specific sort.

SNOOT score: 2
 
Page: 456

Source: Wikipedia

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Entry: picric (adj.)

In context:"At the horizon to the north a bulbous cone of picric clouds that gets taller by the hour as the Methuen-Andover border's mammoth effectuators force northern MA's combined oxides north against some sort of upper-air resistance, it looks like."

Definitionpicric acid n. a yellow crystalline acid with a very bitter taste, obtained by nitrating phenol and used in the manufacture of explosives and in dyeing; 2,4,6-trinitrophenol, C6H2(NO2)3OH.

Other: Picric acid is frequently used in explosives.  Also, here is a neat fact for your next party: "Picric acid emits a high-pitched whine during combustion in air and this has led to its widespread use in fireworks." (Wikipedia)

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 456

Source: Oxford English Dictionary, Wikipedia   

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Entry: extrusive (adj.)

In context: "Three 14's are made to squeegee the more extrusive melt back into the little banks of frozen leaves along the fence."

Definition: Tending to extrude or thrust outwards.


Other:

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 456

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Friday, 14 September 2012

Entry: reveille (n.)

In context: "Somebody always throws up a little; it's like the drills' reveille."

Definition: A signal indicating that it is time to wake or get up; spec. a signal used to awaken personnel in the armed forces, typically sounded on the bugle or drums. Also: the time at which this signal is given; the time for waking or rising from bed. Esp. in early use, freq. to beat the reveille.

Other: The worst noise in the world for me is the standard alarm clock screech.   I now almost always wake up just a few minutes prior, automatically, so that I can avoid really viscerally appreciating DFW's "For Orin Incandenza, #71, morning is the soul's night."

SNOOT score: 2
 
Page: 452

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Entry: Kaopectate (n.)

In context: "By the time they're all stretching out, lined up in rows along the service and baselines, flexing and bowing, genuflecting to nothing, changing postures at the sound of a whistle, by this time the sky has lightened to the color of Kaopectate."

Definition: From Wikipedia: Kaopectate, known medically as bismuth subsalicylate, is an orally taken medication from Chattem, Inc. for the treatment of mild diarrhea. It is also sometimes used to treat indigestion, nausea and stomach ulcers. In the U.S., kaopectate is now equivalent to a tableted form of Pepto-Bismol, and is no longer made from kaolinite and pectin.

Other: So the colour?  That horrible sort of creepy-almost pink that screams thick and chalky.

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 452

Source: Wikipedia

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Entry: scuttlebutt (n.)

In context: "...they wouldn't exactly mind, is the general scuttlebutt, if a half dozen or so of the better girls left before graduation and tried for the Show..."

Definitionslang (orig. U.S. Naut.). Rumour, idle gossip, unfounded report.

Where did it come from?  Here is an earlier usage of the word:

a. Naut. A cask of drinking-water on board ship; a drinking-fountain. Also fig.

Other:

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 450

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Entry: sacrophagally (adj.)

In context: "For the past several months Mario has lain there in a sarcophagally tapered sleeping bag of GoreTex and fiberfill..."

Definition: From sarcophagus (n.):

A kind of stone reputed among the Greeks to have the property of consuming the flesh of dead bodies deposited in it, and consequently used for coffins.

A stone coffin, esp. one embellished with sculptures or bearing inscriptions, etc.

A flesh-eating person or animal. ? Obs.


Other: The first and third definitions make a lot of sense given the word form - not something I'd previously considered.

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 450

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Monday, 10 September 2012

Entry: cognomen (n.)

In context: "Sober, she'd call him Bimmy or Bim because that's what she heard his little friends call him.  She didn't know the neighborhood cognomen came from an acronym for 'Big Indestructible Moron.'"

Definition:

In Latin use:  (a) The third name, family name, or surname of a Roman citizen, as Marcus Tullius Cicero, Caius Julius Cæsar;  (b) an additional name or epithet bestowed on individuals, as Africanus, Cunctator (in later Latin called agnomen).

but more accurately here:

Hence, in English use: a distinguishing name or epithet given to a person or assumed by himself; a nickname.



Other:

SNOOT score: 2
 
Page: 448

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Entry: chintz (n.)

In context: "His mom's special couch for TV was nubbly red chintz.."

Definition:  A name for the painted or stained calicoes imported from India; now, a name for cotton cloths fast-printed with designs of flowers, etc., in a number of colours, generally not less than five, and usually glazed.


Other: Check out this interesting etymology:

Originally chints, plural of chint, < Hindi chīnt; also formerly found as chite, French chite, Portuguese chita, < Mahratti chīt in same sense; both < Sanskrit chitra variegated. The plural of this word, being more frequent in commercial use, came in course of time to be mistaken for a singular, and this to be written chince, chinse, and at length chintz (apparently after words like Coblentz, quartz). This error was not established before the third quarter of the 18th cent., although editors and press-readers have intruded it into re-editions of earlier works. Compare the similar baize for bays

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 447

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Entry: blatts (v.)

In context: "The young biker leans back and smiles at Gately and gives an affable shrug and blatts away..."

Definition:  intr. To bleat, or make similar sounds. Also fig., to talk noisily or impulsively.


Other: If you're here from my book review in the Winnipeg Free Press, welcome.

If not, I have a review of the first David Foster Wallace biography Every Love Story is a Ghost Story available online.

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 445

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Friday, 7 September 2012

Entry: microsmic (adj.)

In context: "Gentlemen, what the president is articulating is that what we face here is a microsmic exemplar of the infamous Democratic Triple Bind faced by visionaries from FDR and JFK on down."

Definition: No idea.  I was able to find this journal article: Regional metabolism in microsmic patients with schizophrenia.  It appears DFW is using the term in an idiosyncratic way.  How about from microcosm (n.):  More generally: a place, situation, etc., regarded as encapsulating in miniature the characteristic qualities or features of something much larger.

Other:

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 440

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Entry: pulchritudinous (adj.)

In context: "...[indicating with pointer a puppet simply beyond pulchritudinous belief; the Cabinet Room's conference table seems to ascend ever so slightly as Luria P- cocks a well-pencilled eye-brow]."

Definition: 1. That endows pulchritude; beautifying. Obs. rare.

 2. Orig. U.S. (chiefly literary and humorous). Esp. of a woman: beautiful, attractive.


Other: Though, to be honest, I prefer DFW's own definition, taken from the the Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus:

“A paradoxical noun because it means beauty but is itself one of the ugliest words in the language. Same goes for the adjectival form pulchritudinous. They’re part of a tiny elite cadre of words that possess the very opposite of the qualities they denote. Diminutive, big, foreign, fancy (adjective), colloquialism, and monosyllabic are some others; there are at least a dozen more. Inviting your school-age kids to list as many paradoxical words as they can is a neat way to deepen their relationship to English and help them see that words are both symbols for things and very real things themselves.”

SNOOT score: 3
 
Page: 440

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Entry: placative (adj.)

In context: "...[holding a placative hand up against the bubble's glass]..."

Definition: See placatory (adj.):  Tending or intended to placate or appease someone; conciliatory; propitiatory.


Other:

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 440

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Entry: cornet (n.)

In context: "[Mario's aural background becomes something like a brisk cornet, and there's some glove-muffled finger-snapping from J.G.F.C., who's lapsed into a visionary reverie.]"

Definition:  A wind-instrument:

†a. In early times a wind-instrument made of a horn or resembling a horn; a horn

†b. A rude musical instrument of the oboe class

 c. Now a brass musical instrument of the trumpet class, with valves or pistons for producing notes additional to the natural harmonics; also called cornet-à-piston



Other:

SNOOT score: 1
 
Page: 439

Source: Oxford English Dictionary