Sunday, 22 December 2013

Entry: depredation (n.)

In context:  "'...bemoaning the depredation of the Swiss land...'"

Definition:  The action of making a prey of; plundering, pillaging, ravaging; also, plundered or pillaged condition (obs.).

Other: Also:

depredationist   (n.) one who practises or approves of depredations.

1828   J. Bentham Wks. (1843) X. 581   The enemies of the people may be divided into two classes; the depredationists..and the oppressionists.

SNOOT score:  1 
Page: 777

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Entry:Anschluss (n.)

In context:  "'It is a long story to the side of this story, but my part of the Swiss nation is in my time of no legs invaded and despoiled by stronger and evil hated and neighboring nations, who claim as in the Anschluss of Hitler that they are friends and are not invading the Swiss but conferring on us gifts of alliance.'"

Definition:   Annexation or union, spec. of Austria to Germany (either the actual union in 1938 or as proposed before that date).

Other: I didn't expect this to be in the OED, but there you go.

SNOOT score:   2
Page: 777

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Friday, 20 December 2013

Entry: rococo (adj.)

In context:  See previous.

Definition:  Designating furniture, architecture, etc., characterized by an elaborately ornamental late baroque style of decoration prevalent in 18th-cent. Europe, with asymmetrical patterns involving intricate motifs and scrollwork.

Other: I'll admit it: I was surprised to find SCROLLWORK acceptable in Scrabble.

SNOOT score:   1
Page: 773

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Entry: buttresses (v.)

In context:  "'or then the type who sort of overelaborates on the lie, buttresses it with rococo formations of detail and amendment, and that's how you can always tell.'"

Definition:  To furnish, sustain, or strengthen with a buttress or support.

Other: From the etymology on the noun-form of the word:

Etymology:  perhaps < Old French bouterez nominative singular (or ? plural) of bouteret, ‘flying-buttress’, ‘arc-boutant’ (Godefroy); apparently < bouter to push, bear against.

SNOOT score:   1
Page: 773

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Entry: Kamikaze (n.)

In context:  "'Then there are what I might call your Kamikaze-style liars.'"

Definition:   ‘The wind of the gods’ (see small-type note above).

Other: This one turned out to be pretty fascinating.

The word was originally used in Japanese lore with reference to the supposed divine wind which blew on a night in August 1281, destroying the navy of the invading Mongols.

 One of the Japanese airmen who in the war of 1939–45 made deliberate suicidal crashes into enemy targets (usu. ships).

Etymology:  Japanese, ‘divine wind’, < kami god, kami n. + kaze wind.

SNOOT score:   4
Page: 773

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Entry: reductio  (n.)

In context:  "'Intuition, induction, reductio, what?'"

Definition:  Is DFW talking about reductio ad absurdum?

The practice of demonstrating the falsity of a hypothesis, principle, etc., by showing that the consequence of assuming it to be true is something absurd or contradictory; an instance of this; = reduction to the absurd at reduction n. 10b. Also in extended use: the action or an act of carrying something to an absurd extreme. 


SNOOT score:   1
Page: 772

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Monday, 16 December 2013

Entry: Panglossian (adj.)

In context:  "'How does somebody with your kind of Panglossian constitution determine whenever you're ever being lied to, I sometimes wonder, Booboo.'"

Definition:   Of, relating to, or characteristic of a Pangloss; unwaveringly or unrealistically optimistic.

Other:   Pangloss (n.): A person resembling Voltaire's character Pangloss, esp. one who is optimistic regardless of the circumstances. Also Doctor Pangloss.

Etymology:  < the name of Dr Pangloss (French Panglosse), the philosopher and tutor in Voltaire's Candide (1759) who believes that ‘all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds’.

SNOOT score:   3
Page: 772

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Entry: datum (n.)

In context:  "'The key datum is that the O.N.A.N.T.A. guy didn't actually extract urine samples from us."

Definition:   Chiefly in pl. An item of (chiefly numerical) information, esp. one obtained by scientific work, a number of which are typically collected together for reference, analysis, or calculation.


SNOOT score:   1
Page: 772

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Entry: unbent (adj.)

In context:  "She was unbent where that dog was concerned, I remember."

Definition:  None of the OED's definitions fit here.  It seems, given the context, that DFW was indicating an unhealthy emotional/mental attitude towards the dog.  Which is odd, because bent (adj.) can be slang for the same thing.
Anyway, here are the more traditional meanings:

Not bowed or curved; also, freed from bending, straightened.  

Not subdued or made subservient.


SNOOT score:   1
Page: 771

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Friday, 13 December 2013

Entry:  peripatetic (adj.)

In context: "'Felicity will be just fine.  So you're just strolling.  Peripatetic footage.'"

Definition: A person who walks about; a traveller; an itinerant dealer or trader.  


Etymology:  < classical Latin peripatēticus of or belonging to the peripatetic (Aristotelian) school of philosophy, philosopher of this school < Hellenistic Greek περιπατητικός given to walking about, especially while teaching or disputing, especially with reference to Aristotle and his followers < ancient Greek περιπατεῖν to walk about, to walk up and down while teaching ( < περι- peri- prefix + πατεῖν to tread, to walk: see paturon n.) + -τικός , suffix forming adjectives from verbs. Compare Middle French, French péripatétique (1372 as adjective, 1531 or earlier as noun). Compare peripatos n.

SNOOT score:   2
Page: 761

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Entry: pennons (n.)

In context: "There's a maple-leaf flag and a 50-star U.S.A. flag hanging limp off brass poles on either side of the window; in an extreme corner are fleur-de-lis pennons on tall sharp polished sticks."

Definition: A long narrow triangular or swallow-tailed flag, usually attached to the head of a lance or a helmet, originally the ensign of a knight under the rank of banneret, and later the military ensign of lancer regiments. Now chiefly hist.

Other:  In extended use: any flag or banner. Also fig.

SNOOT score:  
Page: 7

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Entry: cowlick (n.)

In context: "The only thing that ever shows she's tired is that her hair gets a sort of huge white cowlick, like a rolling ocean comber of hair.."

Definition: A lock or curl of hair which looks as if it had been licked by a cow

Other: To be honest, I was hoping for some sort of interesting history or etymology.  So it goes.

SNOOT score:  1
Page: 761

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Entry: plastron (n.)

In context: "Mario's most comfortable standing and leaning into the support of the police lock he's trying to detach from his canvas plastron and lower, shucking the pack off his back at the same time."

Definition:  Fencing. A shield or pad worn to protect the chest. Also fig.

Other: 1755   Ld. Chesterfield Let. 15 Dec. (1932) (modernized text) V. 2169   The several situations which I have been in, having made me long the plastron of dedications, I am become as callous to flattery as some people are to abuse.

SNOOT score:  1
Page: 760

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Monday, 9 December 2013

Entry: cumulus (n.)

In context: "...trying to film the cock of the Moms's head and the phone's extended antenna against the cumulus of her hair from behind, capturing her unawares."

Definition:   A heap, pile; an accumulation, gathering; the conical top of a heaped measure, hence the consummating mass. 

Other: Cumulus is a Latin borrow word, meaning "a heap."  Pretty simple!

SNOOT score:  2
Page: 760

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Entry: torchères (n.)

In context: "Avril Incandenza, a fiend for light, has the whole bank of overheads going, two torchères and some lamps..."

Definition:  A tall ornamental candlestick or lamp-stand.


SNOOT score:  1
Page: 760

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Entry: squunched (adj.)

In context: "One of the falls in Mr. Schtitt's room had been on the burnt hip, and squunched salve from the bandage is starting to darken the corduroys at that side of the pelvis, thought there is zero pain."

Definition: Pretty clearly a neologism.  I was curious, though, if there were many UU words.  Continuum didn't immediately come to mind.  Here was what I found:


Other: If weltanschauung (n.) isn't a great word, I don't know that such a category makes sense.  It means:  A particular philosophy or view of life; a concept of the world held by an individual or a group.

SNOOT score:  1
Page: 756

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Friday, 6 December 2013

Entry: malentendu (n.)

In context: "Marathe's malentendu of live-in."

Definition:   A misunderstanding.

Other: A clean, neat etymology: Etymology:  < French mal entendu (16th cent. in Middle French as adjective and as noun) < mal wrongly (see mal- prefix) + entendu , past participle of entendre to hear, understand (see intend v.).(Show Less)

SNOOT score:  3
Page: 1062

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Entry: restenotic (adj.)

In context: "...conveying his restenotic wife and entertainment-hungry children..."

Definition: This one takes a bit of tracking down.  The OED doesn't have restenotic, but it does have restenosis (n.): 

The recurrence of stenosis, esp. after corrective treatment; an instance of this.

...which leads us to stenosis (n.): The contraction or stricture of a passage, duct or canal.

Other: DFW kept word lists of terms he wanted to use.  It feels like is one he just ended up kind of shoe-horning in.

SNOOT score:  1
Page: 752

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Entry: volubly (adv.)

In context: "The engineer of radio had spoken volubly of this person's veil and screen."

Definition: In a voluble manner; fluently, glibly.


SNOOT score:  2
Page: 752

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Entry: subaltern (n.)

In context: "The clipboarded woman was a mere subaltern."

Definition: A person or (occas.) thing of inferior rank or status; a subordinate. Now chiefly in critical and cultural theory, esp. post-colonial theory: a member of a marginalized or oppressed group; a person who is not part of the hegemony.

Other: Pretty interesting: Etymology:  < post-classical Latin subalternus (in logic) subordinate (4th cent.), designating a genus which is itself a species of a higher genus (1512 or earlier), designating a species which is also a genus (1523 or earlier), (with reference to rank) subordinate (from 12th cent. in British and continental sources) < classical Latin sub- sub- prefix + alternus altern adj.

Compare Middle French, French subalterne subordinate, lower in a hierarchy (c1430; 1466 as noun), Spanish subalterno (13th cent.), Italian subalterno (late 15th cent.). With use as adjective compare earlier subalternate adj., subalternal adj.

Variation in the position of the main stress has been recorded since at least the 18th cent. The present pattern, of stress normally on the first syllable in British use, and stress normally on the second syllable in U.S. use, is found from at least the late 19th cent.

SNOOT score:  3
Page: 747

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Entry: blancmange (n.)

In context: "There was also a blancmange."

Definition: A sweetmeat made of dissolved isinglass or gelatine boiled with milk, etc., and forming an opaque white jelly; also a preparation of cornflour and milk, with flavouring substances.

Other: Even my admittedly weak French was enough to get "white food" out of blancmange.

SNOOT score:  1
Page: 747

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Entry: mammarial (adj.)

In context: "A curious flabby white mammarial dome covered part of the Academy's grounds outside the dining room's window."

Definition: Nothing in the OED about this one; presumably an inflection of mammary.  So, breast-shaped?


SNOOT score:  1
Page: 746

Source: Oxford English Dictionary