March 21st, 2006


Carked into Katabasis

Trekked up to the library today, found The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary.

I'm all the way up to page two when I run across a word I've never heard: louche.

Now, maybe you guys are all sophisticated, worldly, and smart as whips, but not me; so, I pull out the trusty Webster's Twentieth Century Dictionary: Unabridged, thinking maybe I'll try to educate myself as I work my way through The Professor and the Madman.

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Page Three

"The footpad lurked in Lambeth."

foot'pad, n. A highwayman or robber on foot.

And I'm still on the first paragraph. This might take a while.

(I knew "garroting" and "writ." And, not directly relevant, I knew there was a catchy dance tune called The Lambeth Walk.)


Hey, I made it all the way to page 31! (Word not found in Webster's Twentieth Century Dictionary: Un-a-freakin'-bridged).



• verb (reifies, reified) formal make (something abstract) more concrete or real.

— DERIVATIVES reification noun.

— ORIGIN from Latin res ‘thing’.

(no subject)

postlapsarian (p.44)

after the Fall

This definition presumes one knows to what event "the Fall" refers. Autumn, perhaps? The end of the Roman Empire? Shirer's work? What in Adam's rib does "the Fall" mean?

By the way, lest you doubt the pretension of this erudite prig Simon Winchester: "postlapsarian" is not to be found even at ( defines it, as above, however).

She Ain't What She Used To Be

By the way, "canities", pronounced ka-nish-i-uz, is found at neither AskOxford nor InfoPlease; it can be found via a specialized search through, or in the addendum to Webster's Twentieth Century: Unabridged. As of page 45, this word has not yet appeared in The Professor and the Madman.

A corrupted variant of the term may be found in Dahl's works, as vermicious knids.