Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy aka Bermuda Onion where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun.

Today I have a few words from The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt:

Clinamen: an unexpected, unpredictable movement of matter (definition from book).
"He posited instead what he called a clinamen 'swerve'..." (pg. 7).

Burgher: a prosperous member of the community; a middle class citizen
"Burghers, wool brokers, leather and cloth merchants, vintners and brewers, craftsmen and their apprentices, as well as diplomats, bankers, and tax collectors, all were familiar sights" (pg. 14).

Acediosus: sometimes translated as "apathetic", an illness specific to monastic communities. Monks so afflicted "would find it difficult or impossible to read." Today, someone with similar symptoms (unable to concentrate on daily tasks, anxious, confused, feelings of pointlessness and suffocation) might be diagnosed with clinical depression (definition from book).
"Their duty is to see that no brother is so acediosus as to waste time or engage in idle talk to the neglect of his reading, and so not only harm himself but also distract others" (pg. 23).