Wednesday, March 4, 2009
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?