The Describer’s Dictionary

I’m not sure if this counts toward my reading cleanse list, but I’m currently reading a dictionary. The Describer’s Dictionary, to be precise (much easier to swallow than your classic Oxford or Merriam Webster). I must say, there’s a certain poetic feel to the raw exposure of descriptive words: for example, under “point in the path of a celestial body when it is farthest from the sun,” the word is aphelion. Or “having a thin face with angular features,” i.e. hatchet-faced, sharp-faced, gaunt, severe, hollow-cheeked, with sunken cheeks. 

Sure, I probably won’t use oleaginous, bergschrund, muriform, or sciurine anytime soon, but it should be noted that someone must have been fascinated with these details to the point where s/he felt the urge to encapsulate them in a word. Thank goodness for that. The English language may be strange, but it certainly is much more colorful with these odds and ends dangling off the obscure precipice.


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