Saturday, 30 November 2013

Entry: haplology (n.)

In context: Then Hal asked for several examples of something called Haplology."

Definition: The utterance of one letter, syllable, or word instead of two.

Other: I whole-heartedly recommend you take a look at the Wikipedia page on this one.  Pretty much the only interesting word this week.

In case it gets changed/edited at some point, here are some of the relevant bits:

Haplology is defined as the elimination of a syllable when two consecutive identical or similar syllables occur. The phenomenon was identified by American philologist Maurice Bloomfield in the 20th century.[1] Linguists sometimes jokingly refer to the phenomenon as "haplogy" (subjecting the word "haplology" to haplology).


Colloquial (non-standard spellings signalled by *):

    library (RP: /ˈlaɪbrərɪ/) > *libry /ˈlaɪbrɪ/
    particularly > *particuly
    pierced-ear earrings > pierced earrings [1]
    probably > *probly
    February > *Febury

SNOOT score:  4
Page: 745

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Friday, 29 November 2013

Entry: heliotropes (n.)

In context: "The whole Thanksgiving table inclined very subtly toward Avril, very slightly and very subtly, like heliotropes."

Definition:  A name given to plants of which the flowers turn so as to follow the sun; in early times applied to the sunflower, marigold, etc.; now, a plant of the genus Heliotropium (N.O. Ehretiaceæ or Boraginaceæ), comprising herbs or shrubs with small clustered purple flowers; esp. H. Peruvianum, commonly cultivated for its fragrance.


SNOOT score:  2
Page: 745

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Entry: dipthongs (v.)

In context: "He and little Hal made fun of Avril's Canadian pronunciation of certain dipthongs."

Definition: A union of two vowels pronounced in one syllable; the combination of a sonantal with a consonantal vowel.

Other: Wikipedia has a few English examples.

SNOOT score:  1
Page: 744

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Entry: militate (v.)

In context: "Jim'd told her later she'd seemed too conventionally, commercially pretty to consider using in any of that period's Work, part of whose theoretical project was to militate against received U.S. commercial-prettiness-conventions..."

Definition: To dispute, debate (a question); to contravene, to conflict with; to inhibit or prevent.

Other: I like these adjacent usages:

1857   J. Hyde Mormonism iv. 96   To hold no trust as sacred, no duty obligatory, no promise or oath binding that militates or infringes the interests of the Church.

1990   Marxism Today June 26/2   According to some journalists..there is less ‘caballing’ in today's newspaper office, and working conditions militate a sense of common interest, common identity and shared concerns among staff. Atomisation is the keyword here.

SNOOT score:  1
Page: 743

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Entry: boniface (n.)

In context: "...Brooklyn Legal puts on a particularly fine marine spread, and the boniface seemed to know Dr. Incandenza and called him by name..."

Definition:  Taken as the generic proper name of innkeepers; ‘mine host’, or ‘the landlord’ of the inn.

Other: A bit more interesting.  Etymology: < the name of the jovial innkeeper in Farquhar's Beaux Stratagem (1707).

St. Boniface is one of the nicer areas of Winnipeg, I'll add.

SNOOT score:  1
Page: 1062

Source: Oxford English Dictionary, Wikipedia   

Entry: inbent (adj.)

In context: "'The Medusa v. the Odalisque' - cold, allusive, inbent, hostile: the only feeling for the audience one of contempt, the meta-audience in the film's theater presented as objects long before they turn to blind stone.'"

Definition:  Bent or curved inwards; turned or directed inwards.

Other: To be honest, I have no idea why I bothered to originally select this word.  Since I have near-obsessive tendencies to completion and exactitude, at times, anyways, here you go.

SNOOT score:  1
Page: 740

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Entry: mordant (adj.)

In context: "...mordant, sophisticated, campy, hip, cynical, technically mind-bending..."

Definition:  Of a person, his or her wit, a remark, etc.: having or showing a sharply critical quality; biting, caustic, incisive.


SNOOT score:  2
Page: 740

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Entry: greebles (n.)

In context: "Joelle scrubbed at the discolored square of fingerprints around the light-switch until the wet Kleenex disintegrated into greebles."

Definition: Neologism.  From our very own DFW:

"Greebles had been her own mother's word for the little bits of sleepy goo you got in your eyes' corners.  Her own personal Daddy had called them 'eye-boogers' and used to get them out for her with the twisted corner of his hankie." 

Other: I had never really made the connection between disintegrate and integrate until this very moment.  Better late than never, I suppose.

SNOOT score:  0
Page: 738

Source: Infinite Jest

Friday, 22 November 2013

Entry: inutile (adj.)

In context: "A damaged woman, also in a fauteuil de rollent like Marathe, slumped inutile next to the cartridge's viewer, while a male person of advanced pallor mimed the kicks and thrusts of martial arts at her motionless head, trying to force the woman to twitch or cry out."

Definition: Useless, of no service, unprofitable.

Other: Means pretty much what you'd figured, eh?

SNOOT score:  1
Page: 730

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Entry: sybaritically (adj.)

In context: "He sees in his imagination two-thirds of NNE's largest urban city inert, sybaritically entrances, staring, without bodily movement, home-bounded, fouling their divans and the chairs which may recline."

Definition: Voluptuously

Other: This one turned out to be rather interest.  Turns out sybarite (n.) isn't a mineral, which would have been my first guess, apart from the context here.  Sybarite (n.): (With capital initial.) A native or citizen of Sybaris, an ancient Greek city of southern Italy, traditionally noted for its effeminacy and luxury.

More generally: A person devoted to luxury or pleasure; an effeminate voluptuary or sensualist.

The Wikipedia article is quite interesting.  Here is a gem:

The city and its inhabitants were well known in Antiquity for their excessive luxury. An illustrative anecdote concerning their defeat by Croton is given by Athenaeus. He relates that to amuse themselves the Sybarite cavalrymen trained their horses to dance to pipe music. Armed with pipes, an invading army from nearby Croton assailed the Sybarite cavalry with music. The attacking forces easily passed through the dancing horses and their helpless riders, and conquered the city. This association transferred to the English language, in which the words "sybarite" and "sybaritic" have become bywords for opulent luxury and outrageous pleasure seeking. One story, mentioned in Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language, has a Sybarite sleeping on a bed of rose petals, but unable to get to sleep because one of the petals was folded over.

SNOOT score:  5
Page: 728

Source: Oxford English Dictionary, Wikipedia   

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Entry: lingual (adj.)

In context: "The platoon of A.F.R. remained in the closed Antitoi Entertainment shop, behind their lingual window shade."

Definition: Of a cautery: tongue-shaped

Other: What prefixes does lingual take, you asked?


SNOOT score:  1
Page: 726

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Entry: bôf (int.)

In context: "Fortier had sadly said 'Bôf' and acceptingly shrugged: all knew the sacrifices that might have been required: all viewing details had taken their chances at random in the rotation of viewing."

Definition: French, from Wikitionary: so what, never mind, whatever, meh


SNOOT score: 2 
Page: 7

Source: Wiktionary

Monday, 18 November 2013

Entry: veronica (n.)

In context: "A man in a car coat made a smell-face and did a kind of artful veronica to let the two of them career past."

Definition: In Bullfighting, a movement typical of the first tercio in which the matador swings the cape in a slow circle round himself in order to persuade the charging bull to follow the movement of the cape.

Other: I was sort of hopeful that I'd found a typo and that 'careen' might be what DFW meant.  Nope:

career (v.): o gallop, run or move at full speed.

SNOOT score:  1
Page: 719

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Entry: abeyant (adj.)

In context: "This had risks and exposures and was held abeyant until the directer route - to locate and secure a Master's cop of the Entertainment on their own - had been exhausted."

Definition: That is in a state of abeyance or suspension; dormant; latent.


SNOOT score:  2
Page: 719

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Entry: tympanum (n.)

In context: "...the big doors whose tympanum overheard is carved with a sword and a plowshare and a syringe and a soup-ladle..."

Definition:  A drum or similar instrument, as a tambourine or timbrel (esp. ancient); also, the stretched membrane of a drum, a drum-head.


SNOOT score:  1
Page: 713

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Friday, 15 November 2013

Entry: inimical (adj.)

In context: "...that her salvation-debt really was discharged is also evidence inimical to the legal interests of the tough nun to whom Blood Sister's saviour is obligated..."

Definition: Adverse or injurious in tendency or influence; harmful, hurtful. 

Other:  This entry is quite clearly a few days late.  Sorry about that.  Life (report cards and marking, in other words) quite strongly came to the foreground, and I just didn't have time or sufficient reserve energy to keep up.  No doubt this will happen again, but we're back on schedule.

SNOOT score:  2
Page: 711

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Entry: autodidactic (adj.)

In context: "He's got your autodidactic orator's way with emotional dramatic pauses that don't seem affected."

Definition:   Of, relating to, or acquired by teaching oneself; self-taught.


SNOOT score:  2
Page: 710

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Entry: gnomes (n.)

In context: "Relevant gnomes here might include 'Addicts Don't Have Relationships, They Take Hostages' (sic) and 'An Alcoholic Is a Relief-Seeking Missile.'"

Definition: A short pithy statement of a general truth; a proverb, maxim, aphorism, or apophthegm. Also spec. with reference to Old English verse.

Other: An interesting usage - I was only familiar with the more commonplace sense.  In case you were wondering apophthegm (n.):  A terse, pointed saying, embodying an important truth in few words; a pithy or sententious maxim.

On that, I like this usage:

1879   F. W. Farrar Life & Work St. Paul I. viii. xxix. 593   The admirable Hebrew apophthegm, ‘Learn to say, “I do not know”.’

SNOOT score:  2
Page: 1054

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Friday, 8 November 2013

Entry: catexic (adj.)

In context: "...Joelle is surrounded by catexic newcomers crossing and uncrossing their legs every few seconds and sniffing compulsively and looking like they're wearing everything they own."

Definition: Bit of a hunt for this one.  My best guess is this is an inflection of cachexy (n.)... ?  

‘A depraved condition of the body, in which nutrition is everywhere defective.’ New Sydenham Soc. Lexicon

 b. A depraved habit of mind or feeling. 


SNOOT score:  1
Page: 707

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Entry: delusive (adj.)

In context: "...intense romantic involvements offer a delusive analgesic for the paint of the hole, and tend to make the involvees clamp onto one another like covalence-hungry isotopes..."

Definition Having the attribute of deluding, characterized by delusion, tending to delude, deceptive.


2. Of the nature of a delusion.


SNOOT score:  Lovely sentence by DFW.
Page: 1054

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Entry: shibboleths (n.)

In context: " exchange of slavish dependence on the bottle/pipe for slavish dependence on meetings and banal shibboleths and robotic piety..."

Definition:  A catchword or formula adopted by a party or sect, by which their adherents or followers may be discerned, or those not their followers may be excluded.

Other: loosely. A custom, habit, mode of dress, or the like, which distinguishes a particular class or set of persons.

Here is some classic SNOOT for you:

1849   T. B. Macaulay Hist. Eng. I. iii. 400   To that sanctimonious jargon, which was his shibboleth, was opposed another jargon not less absurd.

SNOOT score:  2
Page: 706

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Entry: vespers (n.)

In context: See previous.

Definition: The sixth of the Canonical Hours of the breviary, said or celebrated towards evening; = evensong n. 1; also, the time of this office.


SNOOT score:  1
Page: 705

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Entry: matins (n.)

In context "But so Blood Sister eventually gets the girl clean, by nurturing her through Withdrawal in a locked sacristy; and the girl becomes less sullen by degrees that have audible clicks to them - the girl stops trying to dicky the lock of the sacramental-wine cabinet, stops farting on purpose during matins and vespers, stops going to the Trappists who hang around the convent and asking them for the time and other sly little things to try to make them slip up and speak aloud, etc."

Definition:  The service, usually consisting of or including the office of matins (sense 1b), preceding the first mass of the day. Now hist. and rare.

1b being:

One of the daily offices appointed in the breviary of the Western Christian Church, usually taken as forming (with the following office, lauds) the first of the canonical hours. Also: an analogous part of certain other minor devotions modelled on the canonical hours; esp. in matins (and hours) of the Blessed Virgin Mary . 

Other: I didn't know of the above sense of matins, but was more familiar with:

 poet. The morning song of birds.


 A morning duty or occupation. rare.

The etymology here is halfway-helpful:

Etymology:  < Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French, French matines (11th cent.), a specialized sense (after post-classical Latin matutinae (plural): see matutine n.) of the plural of matin morning (10th cent.) < classical Latin mātūtīnum , use as noun (perhaps short for mātūtīnum tempus ) of neuter singular of mātūtīnus belonging to the early morning (see matutine adj.). Compare Spanish matines (1207), maitines (1343), Catalan matines (c1284), Old Occitan matinas (13th–14th cent.); and also Italian mattino (a1313; mid 13th cent. as maitino , maitina ), Spanish matutino (15th cent.). In branch II. either a re-formed singular form inferred from the α forms, or (especially in later use) directly < French matin.

The 16th-cent. form matenses shows analysis of the word as singular with the addition of an analogical plural ending.

SNOOT score:  2
Page: 705

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Entry: sacristy (n.)

In context: "But so Blood Sister eventually gets the girl clean, by nurturing her through Withdrawal in a locked sacristy..."

Definition: The repository in a church in which are kept the vestments, the sacred vessels and other valuable property.


SNOOT score:  1
Page: 705

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Entry: novenas (n.)

In context: "So, endless novenas later, Blood Sister eventually feels this transitive spiritual urge to go out and find a troubled adolescent female of her own, to 'save' and bring into the order, thereby discharging her soul's debt to the tough old nun who'd saved her."

Definition: A devotion consisting of special prayers or services on nine successive days, or on the same day for nine successive weeks.

Other: Roman Catholic.

SNOOT score:  1
Page: 705

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Friday, 1 November 2013

Entry: proboscoid (adj.)

In context: "Postal Weight's nose is a massive proboscoid bandaged thing."

Definition:   Shaped like or suggestive of a proboscis or nose; having a proboscis.

Other: A little odd that one of the usages would come from the Financial Times, but here you go:

1995   Financial Times (Nexis) 11 Sept. 17   Here he again resembles a human insect—sallow, hunched, proboscoid—as he plays an ice-cream parlour manager with a taste for young girls.

SNOOT score:  1
Page: 704

Source: Oxford English Dictionary