Archive for December, 2007


Do these words inspire hebetude in you?

heb·e·tude /ˈhɛbɪˌtud, -ˌtyud/

the state of being dull; lethargy. 

[Origin: 1615–25; < LL hebetūdō dullness, bluntness, equiv. to L hebet– (s. of hebes) dull + –ūdō; see -tude]

—Related forms
heb·e·tu·di·nous, adjective



Back to the old lexicon, then.

\Del`i*ni”tion\, n. [L. delinere to smear. See Liniment.] A smearing. [Obs.] –Dr. H. More.

Source: Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, quoted on


I’m pretty sure this word is used in the first sense quoted below, but I also wonder if Stephen Donaldson is aware of its geekier denotation.

grue /gru/

–verb (used without object), grued, gru·ing. Chiefly Scot.
to shudder.

[Origin: 1275–1325; ME]


grue: n. [from archaic English verb for `shudder’, as with fear] The grue was originated in the game Zork (Dave Lebling took the name from Jack Vance’s “Dying Earth” fantasies) and used in several other Infocom games as a hint that you should perhaps look for a lamp, torch or some type of light source. Wandering into a dark area would cause the game to prompt you, “It is very dark. If you continue you are likely to be eaten by a grue.” If you failed to locate a light source within the next couple of moves this would indeed be the case.

The grue, according to scholars of the Great Underground Empire, is a sinister, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth. Its favorite diet is either adventurers or enchanters, but its insatiable appetite is tempered by its extreme fear of light. No grues have ever been seen by the light of day, and only a few have been observed in their underground lairs. Of those who have seen grues, few have survived their fearsome jaws to tell the tale. Grues have sharp claws and fangs, and an uncontrollable tendency to slaver and gurgle. They are certainly the most evil-tempered of all creatures; to say they are touchy is a dangerous understatement. “Sour as a grue” is a common expression, even among themselves.

All this folklore is widely known among hackers.

Source: Jargon File 4.2.0.


The definition of this one is not to be readily found on the internet, but instead comes from the master himself.

It’s an obscure word that literally means, “pertaining to analysis; determining the basic components”. But to make matters worse, I’ve used the word in an obscure sense, as a reference to things to heal (by restoring the integrity of basic components).

In retrospect, that may be a little too much obscurity, even for me. <grin>

Source: Stephen R. Donaldson Official Website.


Used in the form ‘crepitation’.

crep·i·tate /ˈkrɛpɪˌteɪt/

–verb (used without object), –tat·ed, –tat·ing.
to make a crackling sound; crackle.

[Origin: 1615–25; < L crepitātus, ptp. of crepitāre to rattle, rustle, chatter, freq. of crepāre; see -ate1]

—Related forms
crep·i·tant, adjective
crep·i·ta·tion, noun 



Have you traversed any barrancas today?

bar·ran·ca /bəˈræŋkə; Sp. bɑrˈrɑŋkɑ/

–noun, pluralcas /-kəz; Sp. -kɑs/
1.    a steep-walled ravine or gorge.
2.    a gully with steep sides; arroyo.

[Origin: 1685–95; < Sp, var. of barranco, of obscure, prob. pre-L orig.]



Nothing acidulous here, just sweet, sweet words.

a·cid·u·lous /əˈsɪdʒələs/

1. slightly sour.
2. sharp; caustic: his acidulous criticism of the book.
3. moderately acid or tart; subacid.

Also, acidulent.

[Origin: 1760–70; < L acidulus. See acid, -ulous]



Another entry in the Donaldson lexicon.

guer·don /ˈgɜrdn/

1.    a reward, recompense, or requital.
–verb (used with object)
2.    to give a guerdon to; reward.

[Origin: 1325–75; ME < OF, var. of werdoun < ML widerdonum, alter. (prob. by assoc. with L dōnum gift) of OHG widarlōn, equiv. to widar again, back + lōn reward; c. OE witherléan]

—Related forms
guer·don·er, noun
guer·don·less, adjective



More obscure verbiage.

\Ar*gute”\, a. [L. argutus, p. p. of arguere. See Argue.] 1. Sharp; shrill. [Obs.] –Johnson.

2. Sagacious; acute; subtle; shrewd.

The active preacher . . . the argue schoolman. –Milman.

Source: Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, quoted on


More eldritch puissance from the Wordwielder.

brume /brum/

mist; fog.

[Origin: 1800–10; < F: fog < Pr bruma < L brūma winter, orig. winter solstice, contr. of *brevima (diés) shortest (day); see breve]

Related forms
bru·mous /ˈbruməs/, adjective