Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Gone Away Vocabulary

I recently read The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway. It’s a good book and I really enjoyed it. I would recommend it, although it is not for everyone. It is original, imaginative, highly entertaining and I like the way Harkaway writes. Mostly. The only problem was he made me feel slightly stupid. There were so many words I didn’t know the meaning of, not just that but they were so foreign to me I was convinced he made some of them up. He didn’t by the way. I looked a lot of them up and they all had perfectly good definitions. About halfway through the book I decided to start a list. And at the risk of proving that I am slightly stupid and having people say things like ‘I can’t believe she didn’t know that word. I thought everyone with half a brain knew what that meant,’ I’m going to share some of the words I needed to research. I looked up all the words at because I was closer to a computer than an actual dictionary at the time.

Meniscus – 1. a crescent or a crescent-shaped body
2. the convex or concave upper surface of a column of liquid, the curvature of which is caused by surface tension

Reify – 1. to convert into or regard as a concrete thing
2. to regard or treat (an abstraction) as if it had concrete or material existence

Cavil – 1. (v) to raise irritating and trivial objections; to find fault with unnecessarily
2. (n) a trivial and annoying objection

Putative – 1. commonly regarded as such; reputed; supposed

Lacuna – 1. a gap or missing part, as in a manuscript, series, or logical argument; hiatus

Pabulum – 1. something that nourishes an animal or vegetable organism; food; nutriment
2. material for intellectual nourishment

Bruit – 1. to voice abroad; rumor
(Am I the only one who thinks this sounds like it should have something to do with a bear?)

Diktat – 1. a harsh, punitive settlement or decree imposed unilaterally on a defeated nation, political party
2. any decree or authoritative statement

Susurrus – 1. a soft murmuring or rustling sound; whisper

And these are just the ones in the second half of the book. I would hate to think what the list would look like if I had started at the beginning.


caite said...

can't say i liked this one. in fact it is one of the few books...maybe the only...that i did not finish in recent days.
but maybe i missed all the big words that

Becca said...

Well, maybe my opinion is suspect. I have been told I have odd taste in books. And I think Gone-Away World would fall into that category. Odd might be the perfect way to describe it.