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Wondrous Words Wednesday

November 6, 2013

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

I found a few more words in The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

1. clangor – “Though I was only too aware how strangely Hobie looked at me at times, how crazy I must seem to him, still I existed in a low-grade fog of internal clangor: starting up every time someone came to the door, jumping as if scalded when the phone rang; jolted by electric-shock “premonitions” that — mid class —  would compel me to rise from my desk and rush straight home to make sure that the painting was still in the pillowcase, that no one had disturbed the wrapping or tried to scratch up the tape.”

Clangor means a resounding clang or medley of clangs.  I’ve never seen it used the way Tartt did but it really gives a sense of what Theo was feeling.


2. cicatrix – “But when I turned the corner, amidst stalled traffic and car horns, I saw from halfway down the block that the building was cicatriced with scaffolding and the windows slapped shut with official notices.”

A cicatrix is a mark or a scar.


3. aetherous – “New York was full of all kinds of daily subway-and-crowd horror; the suddenness of the explosion had never left me, I was always looking for something to happen, always expecting it just out of the corner of my eye, certain configurations of people in public places could trigger it, a wartime urgency, someone cutting in front of me the wrong way or walking too fast at a particular angle was enough to throw me into tachycardia and trip-hammer panic, the kind that made me stumble for the nearest park bench; and my dad’s painkillers, which had started as relief for my nigh-on uncontrollable anxiety, provided such a rapturous escape that soon I’d started taking them as a treat: first an only-on-weekends treat, then an after-school treat, then the purring aetherous bliss that welcomed me whenever I was unhappy or bored (which was, unfortunately, quite a lot); at which time I made the earth-shaking discovery that the tiny pills I’d ignored because they were so insignificant and weak-looking were literally ten times as strong as the Vicodins and Percocets I’d be downing by the handful — Oxycontins, 80s, strong enough to kill someone without a tolerance, which person by that point was definitely not me; and when at last my endless-seeming trove of oral narcotics ran out, shortly before my eighteenth birthday, I’d been forced to start buying on the street.”

I had trouble finding this word until I discovered aether is an alternate spelling of ether.  Aetherous means being of the nature of ether or having traits characteristic of ether, a volatile liquid that is highly flammable and was formerly used as an aesthetic.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

22 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2013 4:13 am

    The second and third words are really good especially that last one. Emotional.

  2. November 6, 2013 8:02 am

    It’s true – I’ve seen Oxycontin pills – tiny, tiny, tiny!

  3. November 6, 2013 8:02 am

    You had me on cicatrix. Hadn’t heard of that one! LOL I thought your last Monday Mailbox was interesting, as well. So much fun to stop by every week to find out what you’re up to!

  4. Patty permalink
    November 6, 2013 8:40 am

    OMG…are authors just so much more wordy than me? They are!

  5. November 6, 2013 8:40 am

    Clangor sounds like a character out of some fantasy story.

  6. November 6, 2013 8:43 am

    I love the word “Clangor”, sounds slightly mysterious. 😉

  7. November 6, 2013 8:45 am

    More really great words. I must read The Goldfinch!

  8. Beth Hoffman permalink
    November 6, 2013 9:33 am

    I knew “clangor” but the others were new. I’m reading The Goldfinch right now.

  9. November 6, 2013 9:52 am

    Hurray! I actually knew clangor. And I, at least, had heard of cicatrix. My best week yet!

  10. November 6, 2013 11:12 am

    Did you know The Goldfinch is a candidate for one of the Goodreads Choice Awards for 2013? Can’t wait for your review. I knew clangor, but not the others. Cicatrix is very interesting.

  11. November 6, 2013 11:27 am

    Interesting words. That last passage really is an emotional one. And I like clangor.

  12. November 6, 2013 1:25 pm

    The Goldfinch is an excellent source for words! All three of these words are good ones to know and use.

  13. talesofwhimsy permalink
    November 6, 2013 3:00 pm

    I really like clangor.

  14. November 6, 2013 4:24 pm

    I love clangor too, but I really like cicatrix.

  15. November 6, 2013 4:45 pm

    Two out of 3 for me — a first. I have never heard of aetherous!

  16. November 6, 2013 6:05 pm

    All good words this week but cicatrice caught my attention. I first thought of cicadas, the droning insect. Somehow the two words are probably related.

  17. November 6, 2013 10:31 pm

    These are toughies! Lots of great words in The Goldfinch.

  18. November 6, 2013 11:13 pm

    I knew right away the meaning of cicatrix because it’s so similar to the Italian word for scar. 🙂

  19. November 7, 2013 12:37 pm

    These are really interesting words made even more so by the way Donna Tartt uses them. I want to read The Goldfinch even more now because of this! Her description of how the character becomes addicted to prescription painkillers is brilliant, really well done. I’ve never heard of aetherous before and I think it’s great how you came upon the meaning!

  20. bookingmama permalink
    November 10, 2013 9:27 am

    When a book is a long as this one is, I’m sure you will find lots of new words!

  21. Sharon permalink
    March 30, 2016 4:27 pm

    I believe aetherous in The Finch was meant more as the definition of being air above the universe than a violative fluid.

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