Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

02 Nov 2015, 7:11 a.m.

Words I Didn't Know in "Camp Concentration"

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2015 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I recently re-skimmed Camp Concentration by Thomas M. Disch to list the words he uses that I did not know. In this list I do not include words he uses and then immediately defines (e.g., orthoepy), or obscure words I already knew (e.g., supererogatory), or words I believed to be proper nouns. I mark with an asterisk words that are nearly defined in the text and words I was nearly sure I already knew. Where the word appeared at the beginning of a sentence and I'm not sure whether it's a proper noun, or derived from one, I've preserved the initial capital letter. Here they are, in the order they appear in the book:

Pellucidar, empyrean, hermetic*, triturated, factoricity, tappets, lutulence, caliginous, resile, chrism, Hierodule, hypogeum, breccia, spirochete*, treponeme, orchitis, tabes dorsalis, Adamite, chilead, megrims, scherzoes, quaggy, unhouseled, fire-drakes, squitters, jactitations, hassock, enfouldered, stabile, quittors, oblate, athanor*, electuary, telluric, minorating, perfervid, concinnate, factoricity, ortilans, sacerdotal, philoprogenitiveness, ruck, hypogeal, daedal, fane, cornua, epalpibrate, picador, pic, banderilleros, hierograms, catechesis, symbolatrous, cope (noun), drier (noun), benisons, tellurian, bellycrabs, viscid, Carmot, crozier, hyperdulia, opuscula, crapulence, stelae, chiliasts, glouting, epithesis, illapses, wyverns, virescense, latria, umbelliferous, plash, fascinariorum, Ramiform, conatus, Anastomosis, haecceity, farctate, flagitious, squiffy, satispaison, rugate, cerebration*, emulous, gravid, compassionating, spining, sybilline, moiety*, perforce*, bolking, innocuity*

I have not looked up any of those words yet, as I am posting this partly to suggest Camp Concentration as a word source to the officiants of my neighborhood vocabulary bee. Also, I used my phone to note down the words I found, so a side benefit is that my autocorrect just got a lot more highbrow.


Jesse the K
02 Nov 2015, 10:44 a.m.

Thesaurus always at his side, mm?

crapulence is superb.

02 Nov 2015, 13:07 p.m.

Pellucidar is a proper noun; and a fictional one at that.

A bunch of those are Catholic technical terms that Gene Wolfe also uses in The Book of the New Sun.

03 Nov 2015, 15:18 p.m.

I only knew these:

factoricity - "The number 360 was chosen by the Babylonians because of its high factoricity."

chrism - The seldom used singular of christmas.

chilead - "Netflix and Chill" several times in succession.

chiliasts - Participants in a chilead.

spirochete - A sheet of paper that has been used with a Spirograph.

megrims - I think he runs

quaggy - How Elmer Fudd pronounces "craggy".

squitters - A valiant but deeply flawed attempt to make a palindrome out of "quitters".

athanor - The eighteenth Steward of Gondor.

minorating - Treating somebody as a child. "Dude, I know how interest works, stop minorating me!"

bellycrabs - These are going to be in Half Life 3. They are going to be mildly annoying.

glouting - Halfway between gloating and flouting.

cerebration - That's racist!

compassionating - Coined by George W. Bush. "I'm compassionatin' as hard as I can!"