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Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by BermudaOnion at Bermudaonion’s Weblog where we get to share new words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Anyone can join in!

Welcome to part deux of the rather too-prolonged exploration into Rushdie’s prodigious vocabulary. This time I offer radicarian oddities that revolve around ‘hearing’. Yes, the protagonist in ‘Midnight’s Children’ (see my progress/ thoughts on the book here and here) has lost his Professor X abilities as clairvoyant but finally gained a sense of smell. Our Saleem now has an olfactory system that would make Suskind’s Grenouille go green with envy! Here are my latest wordly gems:

1. Orotund – “the orotund emissions of power” (the smell coming from the exhaust of a bus to Saleem has a ’rounded’ shape…)

adj 1. (of the voice) resonant; booming
2. (of speech or writing) bombastic; pompous [from Latin phrase ore rotundo with rounded mouth]

2. Effluvia – “the competitive effluvia of the bus-drivers”

n. pl. ef·flu·vi·a (-v) or ef·flu·vi·ums
1. A usually invisible emanation or exhalation, as of vapor or gas.
2. a. A byproduct or residue; waste.b. The odorous fumes given off by waste or decaying matter.
3. An impalpable emanation; an aura.

3. Itr – “mosques poured over me the itr of devotion”
Means ‘very pure fragrance/ perfume’. This is one of the foreign words Rushdie uses to pepper his narrative. I think it might be of Arabic origins.

I think it’s hard to choose a favourite from these three. But Effluvia is probably the most beautiful sounding word with the most nasty meaning. I’ve made up my mind to use itwhen talking about people I don’t like. Think about it, instead of saying ‘so and so smells like crap’, you could be a little more elegant and say ‘He has an effluvial scent about him’. Sounds more elegant, and with a bit of luck, no one will really know what you’re talking about!

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