I'm a word geek. I love learning words, and exploring their etymology and usage, as is evidenced by my occasional "vocabulary builder" posts here in my journal.
Vocabulary builder )
kevyn: (Default)
( Jan. 23rd, 2008 07:02 pm)
I just had a good laugh on Wiktionary, because of a remarkable coincidence.

Our fiction class is reading Cloud Atlas, a novel by David Mitchell. (No, I never heard of him, either.)

Anyway, as is often the case when reading, if I come across an unfamiliar word that I am not able to contextually reason out a meaning for, I go to the dictionary.

Of course, in this digital age, I don't actually own a dictionary anymore... or any other reference books, for that matter. No, when I need to look up a word today, I go to Wiktionary (http://en.wiktionary.org), the free Wiki dictionary, edited by users.

So this evening, I was reading Cloud Atlas, and came upon this sentence:
Attentive conversation is an emollient I lack sorely aboard Prophetess & the doctor is a veritable polymath.
Now, I had no idea what an emollient is, so I went to the Wiktionary entry on the word emollient. Here's the entry:
emollient, Noun (plural emollients)
IPA: /ɪ'mɒlɪənt/

1. something which softens or lubricates the skin
• 1993: It must be most painful to have a hard rod thrust into the nether orifice. That was a most painful punishment you had for the King in your play. Painful but fitting. -- There are emollients, Kit said, oil, butter and the like. The pleasure is considerable. -- Anthony Burgess, A Dead Man in Deptford
2. anything soothing, or that makes something more acceptable
• 2004: Attentive conversation is an emollient I lack sorely aboard Prophetess & the doctor is a veritable polymath. -- David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
Now, definition #2 seems most apt for the context of this sentence. But then I read the example sentence, used to demonstrate how the word is used in a sentence.

I busted out laughing!

Not only was the book I am reading the source of the sample sentence, but the very sentence I was reading!

I've never had a coincidence like this happen before while looking up a word in the dictionary. The odds against this happening would have to be pretty high, I'm guessing.


kevyn: (Default)


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