Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wondrous Words!

Time again for more Wondrous Words! A big thanks to Bermuda Onion for hosting this weekly feature - please be sure to stop by and check out some of the other great words. Please read carefully - there will be a quiz!

Today's words come from my most recent book, The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Lots of atmosphere, creepy vampires, really good read. (Although I would recommend not reading it when you are by yourself in a hotel room. Suddenly, every little noise seems ominous...)

1. Elegiac - "He was in an elegiac mood."

Expressing sorrow often for something past; of or related to an elegy.

2. Occultation - "The proper term is occultation. The moon occults the sun, casting a small shadow on the surface of the earth."

I found this fascinating! I had no idea that the term "solar eclipse" is technically incorrect. Here's the explanation from the book: "The term 'solar eclipse' is in fact a misnomer. An eclipse occurs when one object passes into a shadow cast by another." By that definition, what we experience is not an eclipse of the sun, but an eclipse of the earth.

3. Umbral - "The eclipse was to be partial in much of the United States and Canada, achieving totality only along a lengthy, narrow trail measuring ten thousand miles long by one hundred miles wide, describing the moon's dark umbral shadow upon the earth."

From umbra, meaning the darkest part of a shadow, in total darkness.

4. Trephine - "Eph searched around wildly for anything that would help him keep this guy away from him, finding only a trephine in a charger on a shelf."

Also from the book: A trephine is a surgical instrument with a spinning cylindrical blade, generally used for cutting open the human skull during an autopsy. If you're curious, you can see a picture of one here.

Words related to past sorrows, a total solar eclipse and an autopsy...kind of creates a mood, doesn't it?


Anonymous said...

#4: interesting. I've always seen trepan. (The real question is, why do I keep seeing this word in my reading?!!!)

bermudaonion said...

I'm sure I'll need to refer to your post when I read this book. Thanks for playing along.

Anonymous said...

Good words. Very interesting about the solar eclipse and our mis-understanding of it.

Jeane said...

That instrument looks scary! You've reminded me to do my own wonderous words today.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

Elegiac seems like such a happy word. I would have been going under the wrong impression. I guess when you mention elegy it makes sense.

Jo-Jo said...

The term occultation is very interesting...I will have to share that one with my kids who know everything. lol

Lisa said...

I thought the whole eclipse thing was very cool! Very interesting that our whole idea about it is backwards.

Anonymous said...

Wow, these are so educational. I hadn't realized "elegiac" had that sad flavour to it. I had thought it had something more to do with music.

And I had no idea about "occultation." I'm so glad I read these today, and learned something!

Meanwhile, mine are here