Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Vocabulary Building

Here are a couple words that could come in handy sometime:

  • Vinolent. Addicted to wine; intemperate or drunken. According to World Wide Words from whence I got this word, Chaucer uses it in Canterbury Tales: "In woman vinolent is no defence, This knowen lecchours by experience." But lest you think it a dead word, it makes an appearance in the press from time to time.
  • Strabismus. "The library must discourage, as conducive to strabismus, any crossover tendencies or attempts at the simultaneous reading of several books" (Umberto Eco--who else?--"How to Organize a Public Library"). The word, potentially useful to the bookish sort, is a noun meaning an abnormal alignment of the eyes; the condition of having a squint. The squinting, no doubt, comes from reading too much or, as my husband always complains to me, reading in the dark. But I like reading in dim light where there is no glare from the page and I have yet to develop a squint from it. I know my husband will say that the key word is "yet" and that it is only a matter of time before my "bad habit" will lead me to strabismus, but I contend that the bright light bouncing off the white page makes me squint and gives me a headache. We'll never agree on this, and each of us is just waiting to be able to say someday, "I told you so."