Monday, September 7, 2009

Acrobatic Vocabulary

A friend of mine taught me a great new word recently: vicambulate. It's a verb meaning "to walk the streets". I am constantly amazed at the versatility, specificity and overall size of the english language. It makes me feel a little bit better about not speaking any other languages. The mastery of English alone is a life long project. I also recently stumbled upon an interesting post at about Cormac McCarthy's amazing vocabulary. The blogger had recently read "Blood Meridian" and compiled a list of interesting words he encountered:

awap, dramhouse, halms, osnaburg, sprent, tailorwise, scantlin, felloes, duledge, jacal, cantle, sotol, trapdyke, chine, quena, pauldron, legflung, sark, scoria, vadose, waney, ratchel, parfleche, stob, madstone, squail, carreta, gastine, whinstone, sleared, windtrap, caesura, scrag, sopilotes, azotea, rebozo, viga, almagre, spancel, fusil, pyrolatrous, malandered, ilex, clackdish, rimpled, sallygate, cuartel, trailspade, speculant, limber-team, rowel, pritchel, merestone, legbail, vidette, nopal, lanneret, ossature, querent, starsprent, slank, mochila, cresset, skiffle, ruddled, malpais, surbated, tainture, apishamore, swapt, scappled, discalced, skelter, balefire, ristra, pulque, conducta, paloquet, criada, scurf, solpuga, vinegarroon, mygale spider, scrog, poblano, preterite, vidette, keelson, alameda, guisado, peloncillo, baldric, lemniscate, tiswin, demiculverin, pugmill, tonto, jornada, malabarista, shacto, cassinette, balden, morral, skelp, lazarous, archimandrite, thaumaturge, fard, helve, thrapple, salient, mansuete, manciple, replivine, pampooties, skift, uncottered, pitera, matraca.

Admittedly many are surely slang or Spanish/English hybrids, but still it's an impressive list for a relatively short book.

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