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…)
2. (of speech or writing) bombastic; pompous [from Latin phrase ore rotundo with rounded mouth]
2. Effluvia – “the competitive effluvia of the bus-drivers”
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!
I like orotund. I could see using that one.
Effluvia is a magnificent word, and one that I’ve used before. I’ve used it as a term for waste before, but thought of it as liquid waste or stench, rather than a gas. I like orotund- I worked with a man like that relatively recently, will try to remember it for the future!
It is also used for liquid waste, or any kind of bad smelling stuff. I hope you have fun using them!
bermudaonion (Kathy) said:
I knew effluvia but the other 2 are new to me. I can’t even figure out how to pronounce itr. Thanks for playing along.
Neither can I! I think you just say it the way it’s written. I’m going to do a bit of asking around for that one. I know some people who speak Arabic, maybe they’ll help me out with the right pronounciation.
Mary Ann Langan said:
1. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Architecture) a room for storing foods or wines
2. (Social Science / Education) Brit (in some universities) a room in which food is supplied or sold to students
From the book High Spirits: A Tale of Ghostly Rapping & Romance (page 9) by Dianne K. Salerni.
Wow. I didn’t know ‘buttery’ had so many meanings. Of course, buttery is also a word to describe something that tastes like butter.
I haven’t read anything by Rushdie yet although I have a couple of books in my TBR pile so I will be reading him this year and will now be prepared to encounter many words I don’t know!
I have always liked the word “Effluvia” such a elegant, melodious way of describing something not so nice!
I’m not familiar with orotund but it’s interesting how Rushdie uses it.
I posted a cool glossary someone had put together based on the hard words Rushdie uses in ‘Midnight’s Children’, you might want to take a look at that too.
I hope you enjoy them.
Thanks for effluvia. I’m going to use it today when I’m at the compost pile.
“Effluvia” sounds so poetic! This is such an interesting meme, but I have a bad habit of just reading over words I don’t know that I soon forget them. I should get into the habit of pulling out the dictionary & learn something new 🙂
I have an award for you. Congrats 🙂 Here are the details.
Effluvia is everyone’s favourite. I’m so happy! Oh and many thanks for the award Teacher/ Learner. It’s always nice to get the ‘Versatile Blogger’ one. It was my first ever award when I switched over to wordpress.