Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wednesday Words

rachitic - rickety.

pelican - a Christian symbol of charity and the Resurrection used by many of the great Christian medievalists.

Aquinas (where I came across the word) wrote of Christ as "our Pelican" and the "Pelican of mercy," Augustine used the Pelican metaphor to refer to the Resurrection, and Dante refers to Christ as "our Pelican" in his Divine Comedy' s "Paridiso." For some interesting information about the Christian metaphor pelican, see here and
here. This could make an interested children's lesson.
pulviscular - fine dust. I met pulviscular in one of those roundabout ways while reading Classics in the Classroom by Carol Jago (which has occasioned a post of its own). The word occurs in a quote from Why Read the Classics? "A classic is a work which constantly generates a pulviscular cloud of critical discourse around it, but which always shakes the particles off." I looked up pulviscular only to find it is not in any dictionary I have or in any online dictionary. Did I misspell it when I wrote it down? No. So how do you find out about a word not in the dictionary? Google! Yes, I found it has only 48 Google entries, most referring to this very quote. According to Martha Barnette, Calvino's translator may have invented the word.


Carol in Oregon said...

Oh I love your Wednesday Words. Last night I remembered and started to write down words from my reading. I borrowed your banner (I hope that's okay?).

Rachitic and pulviscular are new to me. I really like pulviscular. It's a good coin.

Blessings, Janie!

Seasonal Soundings said...

I don't mind a bit! Hope to be more conversant soon---kinda swamped right now.