Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Unusual words in Diana Gabaldon's books



I have always been fascinated by Diana Gabaldon's use of obscure or unusual words in her writing.  Here are a few of my favorites, in alphabetical order:

absquatulation (A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES)
amplexus (THE SCOTTISH PRISONER)
borborygmi (THE FIERY CROSS)
castrametation (WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD)
coccygodynia (DRUMS OF AUTUMN)
extravasated (LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER)
frenulum (WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD)
fridstool (THE SCOTTISH PRISONER)
horripilation ("A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows")
oenomancy (AN ECHO IN THE BONE)
poltroon (DRAGONFLY IN AMBER)
stultiloquy (AN ECHO IN THE BONE)

What about the rest of you?  Is there a particular word or phrase that you encountered for the first time in one of Diana Gabaldon's books or stories?

Diana makes no secret of the fact that she loves unusual words. Look here for a discussion on Compuserve from 2008 in which she talks about it in some detail.

13 comments:

Michelle said...

I was going to say "absquatulated," from MOBY. When I read it, I actually stopped and tweeted about it! And I never do that.

Anonymous said...

I love the light effect word: chiaroscuro

Pat R. said...

I have all of the books on my Kindle and thank goodness because all I have to do is click on the word and get the meaning in a blink of an eye. :-)

Annie Herring said...

I'm so glad Kindle links to a dictionary! I'm frequently looking up words in DG's books!

Eileen said...

Karen and Michelle, I also immediately thought of "absquatulation"! When I read it, I thought to myself "Absquatu-what?" I had to look that one up right away. I also liked "castrametation", which of course sounds like something else. :)

Anonymous said...

I have several dictionaries in my home. They usually don't list her unusual vocabulary words. When I'm reading an actual book, I'm not close to an online dictionary. I need a glossary!

maddalen101 said...

Deliquesence (hope I spelled it right)

Kat said...

I had never heard or used the word "alacrity" before reading her books. She uses it often! I've tried to use it in daily conversation though and people look at me like I've grown a pair of horns. lol... but I'm determined to bring it into common language! I love it!

Elaine said...

I always read Diana's books with a Dictionary close at hand. My favourite is 'festooned' from Voyager.

Ben Johnson said...

I think she makes up some words! Part of her charm. Works for me.

Rose Marie said...

I absolutely love finding new words in the books I read. Diana and one other author seem to never let me down.

Lorie Klahn said...

I love the phrase "smooring the fire!" Here is a lovely link to a very beautiful Gaelic poem on the topic:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/cg1/cg1092.htm

Anonymous said...

I agree a glossary would be great!