Sunday, July 10, 2005

More Vocabulary from Eco

I've been reading Eco and have a slew of new words:

  • peplos. A rich outer shawl or robe worn by women in ancient Greece. "But Gemmy, like every cartoon heroine, was dressed in a soft tunic, a sort of peplos that bared her shoulders and arms and part of her bosom."
  • callipygian. Having well-shaped buttocks. "Her gown clung damply to her body, clearly revealing her callipygian curves, and the entire shapely length of her legs."
  • oneiric. Of or related to dreams or dreaming. "For me, that album must have been, more than a material object, a receptacle of oneiric images." (I've come across this one before but couldn't remember what it meant)
  • plantigrade. Of a mammal walking on the soles of the feet like a human or a bear. "By this point, for both Ada and myself, our beloved plantigrade was a painful sight" (in reference to a stuffed bear).
  • alopecia. Partial or complete absence of hair from areas of the body where is usually grows, baldness. And impetigo. A contagious bacterial skin infection forming pustules and yellow, crusty sores. "Bruno, two cat eyes, pointy teeth, and mouse-gray hair with two bare spots, as if from alopecia or impetigo."
  • deuteragonist The person second in importance to the protagonist in a drama. "A deuteragonist in that little drama, I had a moment of doubt." (I'm sort of embarrassed for not knowing this literary term).
  • proglottidean From proglottid, each segment in the strobila of a tapeworm containing a complete, sexually mature reproductive system. "My memory is proglottidean, like the tapeworm, but unlike the tapeworm it has no head, it wanders in a maze, and any point may be the beginning or the end of its journey." (It's been a long time since high school biology)
  • The challenge again becomes how to use these words in every day conversation. I'm most likely to succeed with oneiric and callipygian I think. People are going to start asking me if I have one of those word-a-day calendars or something. No, nothing as banal and quotidian as that. Umberto Eco is better than word-a-day any day.