Friday, 30 November 2012

Entry: crucifi (n.)

In context: "Planes' little crucifi of landing lights well ahead of their own noise."

Definition: An unfamiliar pluralization of crucifix (crucifixes): A cross; a figure of the cross.

Other: Beware!  For the definition above, there is a subscript warning: N.E.D. (1893) calls this a ‘misuse’, frequent in writers of the 18–19th cent.

SNOOT score: 1

Page: 556

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Entry: myriadly (adv.)

In context: "Lenz observes how to Green how myriadly ironic are the devices by which the Famous Crooner's promise to Clean Up Our Urban CIties has come to be kept."

Definition: Not an inflection I can find elsewhere, so I guess another of Lenz's verbal tics.  Myriad (n. and adj.): In pl. Countless numbers of people or things; legions, hosts, hordes of the persons or things specified.

But earlier and more specifically: Chiefly Ancient Hist. Ten thousand; a set of ten thousand of anything; esp. a unit of ten thousand soldiers.


SNOOT score: 1

Page: 556

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Entry: insousistent (adj.)

In context: "...Lenz was able to play the whole thing off with insousistent aplomb, sitting there in his aviator sunglasses with his legs crossed and his topcoated arms resting along the backs of the empty chairs on either side."

Definition: Definitely a Lenzism.  Probably he's thinking of something along the lines of insouciant (adj.): Careless, indifferent, unconcerned.

Previously featured on Definitive Jest.

Other: I like this usage (again!):

1888   Pall Mall Gaz. 12 Jan. 2/1   On such subjects, an insouciant agnosticism is the most philosophic attitude.

SNOOT score: 1

Page: 556

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Entry: hemispasm (n.)

In context: "And then aside from the every so often hemispasm of the mouth and right eye he hides via the old sunglasses and pretend-cough tactic..."

Definition: Pathol. a spasm affecting one side only of the body.

Other: Surprisingly not a neologism.

SNOOT score: 1

Page: 556

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Monday, 26 November 2012

Entry: lineskers (n.)

In context: "A few lineskers and there'd be no stress-issues about telling Bruce G. with all due respect to screw, to peddle his papers, go play in the freeway, go play with a chainsaw, go find a short pier, that no disrepect but Lenz needed to fly solo in the urban night."

Definition: A neologism (Lenzologism) that I'm not entirely thrilled to help spread.  Also, why is it that athletes invent the worst neologisms, nicknames, and employ the most tired cliches?  I guess this isn't a new observation, but as a lifelong hockey player and fan, it's bothersome.

Me and Toewser (i.e., Toews) were just chuggin' the puck in their end, giving it 110%, firing on all 5 cylinders, etc., etc.


SNOOT score: 1
Page: 555

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Entry: worsted (adj.)

In context: "Lenz wears a worsted topcoat and dark slacks and Brazilian loafers with a high-wattage shine and a disguise that makes him look like Andy Warhol with a tan."

Definition: A woollen fabric or stuff made from well-twisted yarn spun of long-staple wool combed to lay the fibres parallel.

Other: For reasons not immediately clear, perhaps because of its early origin, worsted (in the sense here) has the longest list of usages I've yet seen in the OED:
1293   in Camden Misc. II. 13   Pro xj. ulnis de wrstede ad caligas faciendas.

1345–9   in Archaeologia XXXI. 78   Eidem ad vnam aulam de worstede operatum cum papagailles.

1393–4   Act 17 Rich II c. 2   Les Marchants & overours de draps appelez sengle Worstede.

c1405  (1387–95)    Chaucer Canterbury Tales Prol. (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 264   Of double worstede was his semycope.

1411   in F. J. Furnivall Fifty Earliest Eng. Wills (1882) 19   Also y be-queythe to Robert, myn heldest son, a reed bedde of worsteyd.

1459   Paston Lett. I. 478   Item, j pece of grene wurstet xxx yards longe.

1465   Paston Lett. & Papers (1904) IV. 201   A coverlyte of whyte werstede longyng therto.

1535   Wardrobe Acct. Henry VIII in Archaeologia (1789) 9 249   A dubblette of wursteede.

1548   Hall's Vnion: Henry VIII f. lxiv,   Within hys gate..dwelled dyuerse Frenchmen that kalendred Worsted, contrary to the kynges lawes.

1610   P. Holland tr. W. Camden Brit.i. 475   They obteined..that the Worsted made there [i.e. at Norwich] might be transported.

a1661   T. Fuller Worthies (1662) Norf. 247   It surpasseth my skill to name the several stuffs (being Worsted disguised with Weaving and Colouring) made thereof.

1728   Pope Dunciadii. 129   The very worstead still look'd black and blue.

a1756   E. Haywood New Present (1771) 258   Directions for cleaning of Worsted and other Sorts of Stuffs.

1886   S. W. Beck Draper's Dict. 373   Worsted, cloth of long stapled-wool, combed straightly and smoothly, as distinct from woollens, which are woven from short staple wool, crossed and roughed in spinning.

1436   in W. H. Stevenson Rec. Borough Nottingham (1883) II. 152   Unum cowle de nigro wolstede.

1551–2   Act 5 & 6 Edw. VI c. 7 §1   Any kynde of Clothe Chamlettes Wolstede Sayes [etc.].

1598   J. Stow Suruay of London 76   His guarde..all in a Liuery of Wolsted.
1481–90   Howard Househ. Bks. (Roxb.) 38   A piece wusted iij. yerdes deppe, for stremers and standartes.

1537   in J. L. Glasscock Rec. St. Michael's, Bishop's Stortford (1882) 126   Item a vestment of grene wusted wt an obe.

1589   Voy. W. Towrson in R. Hakluyt Princ. Navigationsi. 108   They shewed vs a certaine course cloth, was course wooll, and a small threed, and as thicke as wosted.

1607   R. C. tr. H. Estienne World of Wonders 235   Sleeues.., one halfe of woosted, the other of veluet.

1618  (1440)    Inventory in E. Peacock Eng. Church Furnit. (1866) 182   A vestment of Black wosted.

δ. 1350 [see sense 1].
1375   Exch. Rolls Scot. II. 505   Per empcionem de xij ulnis cum dimidio de wirset.

1436   in C. Innes Reg. Episcopatus Aberdonensis (1845) II. 148   Vnum vestimentum integrum de nigro wersed.

1483   in T. Thomson Acts Lords Auditors (1839) *112/1   A couering of Inglis worsat.

1520–1   in J. Raine Fabric Rolls York Minster (1859) 305   One vestment of blacke worsett.

1565   in Hay Fleming Reform. Scot. (1910) 610   Ane baithkyt[sic] of roich worsat, to ly under nobillis feit.

1612   Sc. Bk. Rates in Halyburton's Ledger (1867) 289   Beltis..of worsett the groce, viij li.

And if you made it this far, yes, there will be a test.

SNOOT score: 1

Page: 553

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Entry: cathexis (n.)

In context: "In for instance an analytic model, the types of traumas of counterphobic reactions cover are almost always pre-Oedipal, at which stage objects' cathexis is Oedipal and symbolic."

Definition: The concentration or accumulation of mental energy in a particular channel.

Other: I would have bet I'd already covered this word.  The usage reminds me of several of the literary theory courses I took in grad school and my generally mixed feelings.  Anyways, here's an interesting etymology:

Etymology:  < Greek κάθεξις holding, retention; intended as a rendering of German (libido)besetzung (Freud).

SNOOT score: 2

Page: 550

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Friday, 23 November 2012

Entry: intractable (adj.)

In context: "The D.E.A. had lost four field researchers and a consultant before they'd bowed to the intractable problems involved in trying to have somebody view the confiscated Tempe cartridge and articulate the thing's lethal charms."

Definition: Of things: Not to be manipulated, wrought, or brought into any desired condition; not easily treated or dealt with; resisting treatment or effort.


Of persons and animals: Not to be guided; not manageable or docile; uncontrollable; refractory, stubborn.

Other: Wonderful word!

A bit of a strange usage, this appears not under Of persons and animals, but as part of Of things, though I guess a tooth is hardly an animal:

1607   E. Topsell Hist. Fovre-footed Beastes 193   The teeth of those Elephants..are so smooth and harde, as they seeme intractable.

SNOOT score: 3

Page: 549

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Entry: pithed (adj.)

In context: "Docile and continent but blank, as if on some deep reptile-brain level pithed."

Definition: From pith (v.):

To pierce, sever, or destroy the upper spinal cord or brainstem of (an animal), so as to cause death or insensibility.

but also, though less applicable here, this:

To supply a person with strength or courage

and more prosaically:

To remove or extract the pith from.

Other: If you want to make someone strong or courageous, one way is to make them pithed off.  Right?

SNOOT score: 1

Page: 548

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Entry: twidgelling (v.)

In context: "...both the head of D.E.A. and the Chair of the Academy of DIgital Arts and Sciences, now both here standing on one foot and then the other and twidgelling the brims of their hats."

Definition: A neologism.  Nervously adjusting? 

Other: I think it's safe to say this isn't really a word English is dire need of - or is it?

SNOOT score: 1

Page: 548

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Entry: ambit (n.)

In context: "National Security Agency, absorbed w/ A.T.F. and D.E.A., C.I.A. and O.N.R. and Secret Service into the ambit of the Office of Unspecificed Services."

Definition: A circuit, compass, or circumference.

fig. Extent, compass, sphere, of actions, words, thoughts, etc.

Other: Sometimes the context section is useful.  Today isn't one of those times.

SNOOT score: 3

Page: 1037

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Monday, 19 November 2012

Entry: bonerfied (adj.)

In context: "...tis ocassional and last-resort is cuh a marked reduction of Use & Abuse for Lenz that it's a bonerfied miracle and clearly constitutes as much miraculous sobriety as total abstinence would be for another person without Lenz's unique sensitivities and psychological makeup and fucking intolerable daily stresses and difficulty unwinding, and he accepts his monthly chips with a clear conscience and a head unmuddled by doubting: he knows he's sober."

Definition: I can hear Lenz saying it like this... one hopes he means bona fide (adj.): In good faith, with sincerity; genuinely.


SNOOT score: 1
Page: 543

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Entry: diverticulitis (n.)

In context: "Glynn had thin hair and an invariant three-day growth of gray stubble and diverticulitis that made him stoop over somewhat..."

Definition: Inflammation of a diverticulum, esp. in the intestine.


SNOOT score: 1

Page: 543

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Entry: Eurotrochaic (adj.)

In context: "...the Eurotrochaic sirens of ambulances and the regular U.S.-sounding sirens..."

Definition: A neologism. 

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

Other: So, do European sirens sound notably different than those found in North America? Or, maybe that's too much already: do Canadian sirens sound different from American and American and Canadian from Mexican?

SNOOT score: 1

Page: 543

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Friday, 16 November 2012

Entry: reseau (n.)

In context: "...a flat square coldly Euclidian grid with black axes and a thread-fine reseau of lines creating grid-type coordinates..." 

Definition: Lacemaking. A lace net ground


SNOOT score: 1

Page: 542

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Entry: panoply (n.)

In context: "Lenz had such a panoply of strange compulsive habits that a request for SteelSaks barely raises a brow on anybody."

Definition: A spiritual or psychological protection or defence; an attitude, etc., affording such protection.

Other: Lenz is a truly disgusting, incredibly interesting character, at least for me.

SNOOT score: 2

Page: 542

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Entry: excitatingly (adj.)

In context: "...the same way a deep-sea sportsman knows the fish-species that fight most fiercely and excitatingly for their marine lives."

Definition: A variant on excite (v.), which well, you know.  I thought it might be more... exciting... too.

Other: Truly a horrible section of the book to read, if you're following along.

SNOOT score: 1

Page: 541

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Entry: brisance (n.)

In context: "The 'There' turned out to be crucial for the sense of brisance and closure and resolving issues of impotent rage and powerless fear that like accrued in Lenz all day being trapped in the northeastern portions of a squalid halfway house all daybeing fearing for his life, Lenz felt."

Definition: The shattering effect of such high explosives as nitroglycerine and gun-cotton. (See also quot. 1935.) Also attrib.

Other: A beautiful-sounding word and a neat way of using it in connection to an emotional feeling.

SNOOT score: 4

Page: 541

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Monday, 12 November 2012

Entry: verminal (adj.)

In context: "Demapping rats became Lenz's way of resolving internal-type issues for the first couple weeks of it, walking home in the verminal dark." 

Definition: I'm a little surprised this isn't an adjective/inflection of vermin. 

Other: The definitions of vermin (n.) are too good to pass up: 

a. Orig. applied to reptiles, stealthy or slinking animals, and various wild beasts; now, except in U.S. and Austral. (see sense 1b), almost entirely restricted to those animals or birds which prey upon preserved game, crops, etc. †Also in phr. beast of vermin.

Applied to creeping or wingless insects (and other minute animals) of a loathsome or offensive appearance or character, esp. those which infest or are parasitic on living beings and plants; also occas. applied to winged insects of a troublesome nature

SNOOT score: 1
Page: 541

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Entry: coffinous (adj.)

In context: "Potentially young forms in down sleeping bags of coffinous shape were now discernible around the black remains of the night's bonfire."

Definition: A neologism, if a fairly obvious one. 

Other: coffin (n.) appears to be a very early word: c1380   Eng. Wycliffite Serm. in Sel. Wks. I. 62   Þei gedriden and filden twelve coffynes of relif of fyve barly loves. 

Also, since I can't resist, I should point out that I'm typing this up with some sort of chest infection.  I'm absolutely coffin up a storm.

SNOOT score: 1

Page: 530

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Entry: obstreperous (adj.)

In context: "...full of weird idioms and having both inflected and uninflected grammatical features, an inbred and obstreperous dialect..."

Definition: Clamorous, noisy; vociferous

Other: A very fun word. 
Etymology:  < classical Latin obstreperus clamorous (2nd cent. a.d.; < obstrepere to make a noise against, shout at, oppose noisily or troublesomely < ob- ob- prefix + strepere to make a noise: see strepent adj.) + -ous suffix. Compare later streperous adj. Compare also obstropolous adj.

SNOOT score: 5

Page: 1036

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Friday, 9 November 2012

Entry: coccyx (n.)

In context:  "Her posture, that night, with her coccyx against something and looking down the length of her legs, was awfully close to the way Himself used to stand around."

Definition: The small triangular bone appended to the point of the sacrum and forming the termination of the spinal column in humans, formed by the coalescence of four rudimental coccygeal vertebræ; also, an analogous part in birds or other animals.

Other: I prefer to call it the 'rumpbone':

1615   H. Crooke Μικροκοσμογραϕια 493   In Dogs and Apes there are three coniugations proceeding out of the Coccyx or rump-bone.

SNOOT score: 1

Page: 522

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Entry: matriculating (v.)

In context: "It turned out a couple days later that the kid had some kind of either family or cerebro-spinal-fluid crisis at home in rural IL and wasn't matriculating now till th Spring term."

Definition: To enter (a name) in the register of a university, college, etc.; (now) esp. to admit as a member of a university, college, etc. Also fig.

but also:

To pass a matriculation examination at the end of one's school career, and receive a matriculation certificate.


To consign to maternal care. Obs. rare.

Other: A common enough word, though I chose it more because I was curious about the etymology.  Unfortunately, the etymology isn't particularly interesting:

Etymology:  < post-classical Latin matriculat-, past participial stem (compare -ate suffix3) of matriculare to enrol (1402, apparently exclusively in British sources; compare earlier immatriculare immatriculate v. in the same sense (1138; 1378 in a British source)) < matricula matricula n. Compare Italian matricolare (a1412), Old Occitan matricular (1471), Middle French, French matriculer (1550; rare before 19th cent.), Portuguese matricular (17th cent.), Spanish matricular (1706). In some senses extended uses apparently influenced by association with classical Latin māter mother (compare matri- comb. form).

SNOOT score: 2

Page: 519

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Entry: intransigence (n.)

In context: "Lateral Alice has queer eccentric pockets of intransigence and Ludditism, due possibly to her helicopter-crash and neurologic deficits."

Definition: That refuses to come to terms or make any compromise (in politics); uncompromising, irreconcilable

Other: That has to be one of my favorite "in context" sentences yet.

This is pretty cool: check out the etymology for intransigent (adj. and n.):
Etymology:  < French intransigeant /ɛ̃trɑ̃siʒɑ̃/ in Littré Suppl., < Spanish los intransigentes , applied to the party of the Extreme Left in the Spanish Cortes, and in 1873–74 to the extreme Republicans in Spain; < Latin in- (in- prefix3) + transigent-em, present participle of transigĕre to come to an understanding, < trans across + agĕre to act. Also used in French spelling.

SNOOT score: 3

Page: 517

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Entry: fricatives (n.)

In context: "He can make out just the whistly fricatives of Charles Tavis's distant voice behind his double office doors..."

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


SNOOT score: 1

Page: 514

Source: Oxford English Dictionary