Words I Looked Up Today from Blood Meridian.

I’ve been reading Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, and it’s chock full of words I don’t know or can’t remember. Here’s a sampling from today’s reading. All definitions are from the American Heritage Dictionary unless otherwise noted.

almagre: (from Oxford Living Dictionaries): n. Especially in Spain and Spanish-speaking countries: red ochre

fusil: n. A light flintlock musket. (I was pretty sure about this one from the word “fusiliers.”)

mendicant: n. A beggar; adj. Depending on alms for a living; practicing begging.

offal: n. Waster material or byproduct from a manufacturing process; meat, including internal organs (such as liver, heart or kidney) and extremities (such as tail or hooves), that has been taken a part other than skeletal muscle. (I encountered this one somewhere else recently, but I can’t say where.)

nopal: n. Any various of cacti having edible stems, especially prickly pears.

ossature: n. An underlying framework or skeleton. (This one was easy to guess, as “oss-” is “bone” in Latin.)

luff: n. The act of sailing closer into the wind. v. To steer a sailing vessel closer into the wind.

querent: (from Oxford Living Dictionaries) n. A person who asks or enquires; specifically a person who consults an astrologer, fortune-teller, medium, etc.

apposite: adj. Appropriate or relevant.

These are from about 50 pages of reading. It’s most of them, not counting words in Spanish and the work I had to do learning about Tarot cards, which aligns with McCarthy’s use of “querent”.

Parker McConachieComment