Leave it to an author as well-read as Josh Hanagarne to stump me several times over! I keep a piece of scratch paper as a bookmark, one sheet faithfully dedicated to each book, for keeping notes: page numbers for referral or quotation, words to look up, thoughts that belong in my review. If I have to look up more than 1-3 words in a book of standard length, that book often finds its way into a “vocabulary lessons” post. Here are the words that I learned from The World’s Strongest Librarian.
revenant: “one that returns after death or a long absence.” As used, a great way to poke fun at the ultra-serious character in question.
elided: “to suppress or alter (as a vowel or syllable) by elision” (a prime example of the crime of using the word in its own definition! shame on you, Merriam-Webster) or “to strike out (as a written word).” Not to be confused, I suppose, with redact, a term I was more familiar with and which did come up as a “related word.”
D and C: a most unpleasant-sounding surgery performed for, in this case, a very sad condition.
fontanelle: that soft spot on a baby’s head that you have to be careful of until the skull zips up properly. I am not a person well-versed in babies, in case you couldn’t tell. Used here in a metaphoric sense which I found quite effective, and topical.
Bonus: I went out the other night for beers with a girlfriend who also works in health care, and she dropped one on me that I’d never heard before. Because I’m a logophile, I had to go look it up right away! Lisa says that perseverate is word mostly used in health care; and the definition, to “repeat a response after the cessation of the original stimulus,” does fit with Lisa’s specialty in treating neurological conditions. There you go – learn something every day, even at the local pub. Thanks Lisa!
Sorry to say, folks, that The World’s Strongest Librarian will not be released for some time (May 2, last I saw). But in the meantime, you can check out Josh’s blog.
And if you’re interested – you can see a few more “vocabulary lessons” posts here.