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Periodic vocab dump


Just to make things more fun for me, here are words and definitions from unknown palabras from DFW’s Infinite Jest.
Also, I don’t know which page these begin on–I’m just starting from where I left off on my list.

subrosa: The Latin phrase sub rosa means “under the rose” and is used in English to denote secrecy or confidentiality, similar to the Chatham House Rule. (source: wikipedia)

selvage: the edge of a fabric that is woven so that it will not ravel or fray (Princeton Wordnet)

trumbrel: a farm dumpcart for carrying dung; carts of this type were used to carry prisoners to the guillotine during the French Revolution / instruments of social humiliation or censure (wikiPrincetonpedianet)

hack: Among other things, a kick on the arms. (PWN) I wish I could remember the context of the sentence in which I found this particular use of “hack.”

asperity: harshness of manner (PWN)

afflatus: a strong creative impulse, “divine inspiration” (PWN)

labile: A susceptibility to change; instability (wiki)

annular: shaped like a ring (PWN)

bathetic: effusively or insincerely emotional (PWN) I must use this when insulting my enemies.

acclivated: possible misspelling of acclimated?

apotropaic: having the power to prevent evil or bad luck (PWN) I did make a note of the context for this one. “apotropaic barn signs”

micturation (sic)/ micturition: fancy word for urination (wiki)

lacuna: a blank gap or missing part, also an extended passage in a musical work in which no music is played (PWNwiki)

telemarchy: ? Telemachy? Homer, anyone? First four books of the Oddessey?

telemetry: automatic transmission and measurement of data from remote sources by wire or radio or other means (PWN)

ad hoc: often improvised or impromptu / for one specific case (PWN)

coccyges: pl. of coccyx, i.e. the human tailbone (wiki)

embolism: occlusion of a blood vessel by an embolus (a loose clot or air bubble or other particle) (PWN)

revenant: a person who returns after a lengthy absence / someone having returned from the dead (PWN, no “spice of life,” eh?)

transom: architectural– a window over a door or other window or something having to do with the stern of a ship. Lots of definitions…google it for clarification.

reticulate: to form a net or network (PWN)

kibitz: make unwanted and intrusive comments (PWN)

nictitate[d]: to wink or blink (wiki)

egregulous: I think is a derivative of “egregious”

tremens: Delirium tremens (DT) is a potentially fatal form of ethanol (alcohol) withdrawal

mokus: apparently, “squirrel” in Hungarian. (google)

suppurating: producing pus (wiki)

nystagmic: nystagmus–rapid involuntary eye movement, usually lateral (wiki)

levantine: from the Levant (the eastern Mediterranean at large) (wiki)

lordotic: of or related to lordosis; having an abnormal backwards curvature of the spine (wiki)

“Tenabrae Factae Sunt” : Fifth of the nine responsories for Matins of Good Friday. (wiki)

anthracnose: Any of several fungal diseases that affect many plants and trees (wiki)

strabismic: strabismus – abnormal alignment of one or both eyes (WPN)

Actaeon: Dude stumbles upon Artemis bathing in the woods, amazed by her naked beauty, she is angry, tells him he’ll turn into a stag if he speaks, he ends up speaking when he calls for his hunting party, his dogs turn upon him and tear him to bits. (wiki)

avuncular: being or relating to an uncle (PWN)

phylogenic: something having to do with the evolutionary history of an organism? (wiki)

ascapartic: Ascapart or Ascupart was an enormous giant, thirty feet high, who carried off sir Bevis, his wife Josian, his sword Morglay, and his steed Arundel, under his arm. Sir Bevis afterwards made Ascapart his slave, to run beside his horse. The effigy of sir Bevis is on the city gates of Southampton.—rayton: Polylbion, ii. (1612). (many thanks to kathy who commented on a blog post on The Ill Quill)

aegis: auspices (PWN)

neurasthenic: a person suffering a nervous breakdown (PWN)

Zuckung: twitch (German) (germanwikigoogletrans)

candent: incandescent (PWN)

eustacian: duh, like the tubes in your ears!

felo de se: Latin “felon of himself”, suicide

detente: relaxing or easing (French) (wiki)

dentition: teething (WPN)

paucity: scarcity (wiki)


  • wander aimlessly
  • mumble: talk indistinctly; usually in a low voice
  • chatter: speak (about unimportant matters) rapidly and incessantly (WPN)

That’s all I have for now.
And more than enough for you the invisible reader, isn’t it?

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