Wednesday, September 9, 2015

REPOST: 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? Feel free to post a comment here or on my Outlandish Observations Facebook page.

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

10 comments:

Stacy Cromley said...

My favorite is guddle, in Echo in the Bone, during the * ahem * scene from Jamie's perspective, after Claire delivers Lizzie's 2nd baby. It means to tickle the underbelly of a fish, in order to catch it (it stuns/lulls the fish). Very descriptive, I think!

Anonymous said...

This is great. I'm reading Breath of Snow and Ashes and noticing the same thing. Some I've seen lately: obstreperous, susurrus, phlogiston, suet, pissant, stertorous, and oxter!

Susan D said...

The unusual words are great!! Many of them are Latin based and, to me, they are based on the fact that Claire is a physician/ healer!!

Pat Rasmussen said...

Their are about 10,000 words and phrases in her books that I encountered for the first time and I love it! I have to look them up (admittedly I can't find some of them) because it keeps my mind sharp and it's nice to learn something new every day. :-)

Cathi said...

My favorite was uxorious which Roger (I think) used when he was describing Jamie's feelings for Claire. When I looked it up it said "having or showing an excessive or submissive fondness for one's wife."

Being Merry said...

Alacrity. Diana seems to like it, I notice it now 1-2 times per book.

Anonymous said...

Uxorious is a delicious word with a lovely meaning. :)

Sherry said...

Heard interlocutor today listening to Drums of Autumn when Claire first meets John Quincy Myers. Means someone who takes part in a dialogue or conversation. So many other words she could have chosen. Brilliant. Claire later performed hernia repair surgery on Mr. Myers.

Anonymous said...

I have all of the Outlander series in hardcover - I love the feel of a book - but ended up getting them all on my kindle. It makes it so much easier to look up the definition of a word. I love it when I come across a new word and there are lots of them in Diana's books!

Nic said...

I love susurrus (a lovely onomatopoeia I think!) and voluptuary.

Very fond of clishmaclaver as well!