Concerned that my new acquired book on Italian literature might have book mould, I learn the concept “foxing” which is when a book acquires brownish spots, the causes of which, according to my net source, are not fully understood. Not only can people be foxed by a book but the book itself can be foxed, which feels satisfactory. Awaiting further investigation, my Italian literature book still has its own niche in a cupboard though, a book purgatory.
Another new word for me this week is “phloem”, the innermost layer of the bark, which is added to flour to make bark bread (not by us….).
“elucurbation” wasn’t entirely new but not in a state which could be used. I now know that it is to work out or express something with great mental effort or to produce a literary work by great effort, originating from the Latin “lucubrare” to work by lamplight. There is a similar word in French but there it seems to have acquired a negative connotation (rather than semi-jokey as in English).
Finally, as the perfect end of the week, I discover that the figure 57 is not only connected with baked beans but that there are also 57 words relating to hell in my Concise Anglo-Saxon dictionary (J.R. Clark Hall).
helleceafl, the jaws of hell
hellcwalu, pains of hell
hellegrund, abyss of hell
hellehaeft, prisoner of hell
hellerune, pythoness, sorceress (how did the A-Ss know about pythons?)
hellewitebroga, horror of hell-torment
hellheaf, wailings or howlings of hell
hell-traef, the devil’s temple