words I learned while reading The Beauty of the Infinite

David Bentley Hart has expanded my vocabulary to include the following list of obscure, polysyllabic words: 

ordonnance
parataxis
diegesis
chthonic
amphiboly
caducity
inspissated
nisus
diremption
aleatory
orphic
subtend
debile
velleity
risible
tabescence
piscine
oneiric
eidetic
indiscerptible
obsecration
temenos
concatenation
identism
crepuscular
estaminet
probatively
decortication
Taboric
foison
opalescence
porrection
persiflage
sublate
syntagma
griseous
catalectic
anacolouthic
metonymy
asymptotic
ambit
recrudescence
melismatic
apotropaic
mactate (and mactation)
farrago
galvanism
medicament
peripety
appanages
demesne
soupcon

To the first person who can correctly define 12 of these words without using a dictionary, I will mail a Snickers bar.

 

12 Replies to “words I learned while reading The Beauty of the Infinite

  1. chthonic (NB spelling) – arising out of the earth
    ambit – the scope or area covered by a topic
    eidetic – having to do with ideas
    apotropaic – turning away from
    metonomy – a part standing in for a whole
    risible – open to ridicule
    diegesis – the telling of a story; the narrative
    parataxis – in grammar, the placing of terms or phrases alongside one another, at the same level (rather than subordinated, as in hypotaxis)
    subtend – a geometric term; the angle created by lines meeting
    asymptotic – of or relating to an asymptote (in algebraic geometry), which is when one line approaches another but never quite makes it.
    syntagma – another grammatical term (it helps that I’ve studied grammar) about a collection of words or phrases which are functionally interchangeable within part of a clause or sentence.

    That’s about it.
    I could guess that piscine means “of or relating to fish”, but I could be wrong. I’m familiar with a number of the other terms, but not sure I could define them. Hart is certainly verbose. But fun.

  2. Now I’ve checked some of my answers where I wasn’t so sure – NB metonymy not metonomy.
    Apotropaic was a guess from the etymology. I didn’t realise it had to do with “turning away” evil influences.

  3. Byron,

    Good work! I didn’t imagine that anyone would respond within 10 minutes (you are a fan of the blog games though…).

    Now… not to get picky, 🙂 but by my count you’ve got 11 definitions and a well-educated guess (one which happens to be correct). Technically, I’m not sure if that merits mailing a candy bar to Australia. Maybe I can mail you a couple dollar bills instead–your choice.

    Thanks for playing!

    UPDATE: Spelling errors corrected… Thanks Byron

  4. No problem! My point was that I couldn’t get to 12 without guessing (and one of my attempts turned out to be incorrect (or incomplete)). Use the money to buy yourself Hart’s little book “The Doors of the Sea” if you haven’t already read it. 🙂

    Thanks, it was fun to play and stretch my vocab.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s