Bellowing Bellow

Recently, I finished reading The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow. I absolutely loved it; however, I do not recommend it to people who aren’t writers. It is definitely a book for writers. If there are any casual readers left out there who enjoy lengthy, flowery classics, then by all means, give this one a read.

Bellow uses a plethora of fancy-pants words. He’s always a bit verbose, but in this particular book, he lets the vocabulary flow unrestrained.

So, the next couple of blog posts will be examples of some of those interesting, unwieldy words that writers today have no business using, simply because, well, what would be the point?


1. bitumen — noun — an asphalt of Asia Minor used in ancient times as a cement and mortar. [MJC: naturally, Mr. Bellow was using this to describe the look of a human being.]

2. repudiation — noun — the refusal of public authorities to acknowledge or pay a debt. [MJC: I’m surprised, given our newfound obsession with government debt and corporate bail-outs, that this word hasn’t been revived.]

3. aldermanic — adjective — like a person governing a kingdom, district, or shire as viceroy for an Anglo-Saxon king. [MJC: regal wouldn’t have done the trick, I suppose.]

4. slumgullion — noun — a meat stew. [MJC: funny—I read a sentence today in Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist that I hated, which involved meat stew. I have it right here, in fact. “The skin over the collarbone on one side was gone and a piece of the bone stuck out, glowing white like a piece of chalk in a meat stew.” I wonder if slumgullion would have helped.]

5. snicking — verb — to cut slightly. [MJC: this is one of those words that is so deliciously apt. What else is the sound of something being cut slightly than SNICK? Comic book writers should take notice.]


Got a dusty, old word you never can use without editors arching their eyebrows? Feel free to share it here, at the Bloggery!

More Bellowing Bellow to come.

Published in: on February 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. “Peripatetic”: Adj: Traveling from place to place, esp. working or based in various places for relatively short periods.

    From “Travels with Charley,” by John Steinbeck

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