Sunday, March 12, 2006

Vocabulary! Get Your Vocabulary Lesson Here!

Yesterday was new words day. It appears that Mr. Emerson is going to keep me on my toes with new vocabulary words. Here are the ones that tripped me up:

  • Endogenous. Adjective. Having an internal cause or origin. In biology, growing or originating from within an organism. In psychiatry, not attributable to any external or environmental factor. Also, confined within a group or society. Emerson's sentence: "Man is endogenous, and education is his unfolding."
  • Collyrium. Noun. A medicated eyewash. Also, a kind of dark eye shadow, used especially in Eastern countries. Emerson's sentence: "Great men are thus a collyrium to clear our eyes from egotism, and enable us to see other people and their works." Hmm, great men are like a medicated eyewash. Such an elegant and inspiring use of metaphor!
  • Agglutinations. Noun. A derivative of agglutinate, verb. Firmly stick or be stuck together too form a mass. Used in biology in terms of bacteria or red blood cells, to clump together. In linguistics, combine simple words or parts of words without change of form to express compound ideas. Emerson's sentence: "Nature abhors these complaisances, which threaten to melt the world into a lump, and hastens to break up such maudlin agglutinations."
  • Superfetation. Noun. Used in medicine and zoology, the occurrence of a second conception during pregnancy, giving rise to embryos of different ages in the uterus. Used figuratively to mean the accretion of one thing on another. Emerson's sentence: "The thoughtful youth laments the superfetation of nature."
Emerson loves the fancy latinate words! No surprise really since in the essay he makes a disparaging remark against "the Saxon race" (the children are educated to wish to be first). Since my Dad's side of the family all originated from Germany, I took a bit of offense. But what is most curious is that one of his representative men is none other than Goethe. Maybe Emerson makes an exception due to Goethe's greatness. It will be awhile before I find out since Goethe is the last essay. One more new word came upon me while reading Clarissa last night (I know it's been awhile, but I have not given up this monster-sized book). Nothing much is happening. Clarissa is still putting off Lovelace in hopes that she can be reconciled to her family. She knows she has screwed up but she doesn't want to face the consequences. Oy. Anyway, the word in question is immiscible. Adjective. Not forming a homogeneous mixture when added together. The sentence: "Could it have been honest in me to have given my hand to an odious hand, and to have consented to such a more than reluctant, such an immiscible union, if I may so call it?" (Italics are Richardson's.) The odious hand in question is that of Mr. Solmes. The Harlowe family still has designs for forcing her to marry him as long as she is not married to Lovelace. Clarissa needs to either give in to her family's wishes, give in to Lovelace, or grow a backbone and take her family to court in order to claim possession of the property left her by her grandfather. But being decisive is not one of Clarissa's virtues.