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Inspirational Reads

Another Sunday Goofy Word

May 24, 2009

Well, my in-laws have all left from the grand celebration surrounding my daughter's First Communion. There's a soft, sort of fragile quiet hanging over the house. It's blissful. You might think that, in this case, I'd opt for a word like "palliation" to highlight in this Sunday goofy word thing that I'm striving to work into my writing(s).

Instead, I'm picking a word that I meant to mention last week, but I spent most of the day Sunday laying on the couch, suffering through some malaise or another, which is a moderately poetic way of saying "I didn't feel like it."

Anyway, the word today showed up at Vic's joint, What Were You Thinking? The lovely Vic, in her bounteous and loving heart, adopted a word from It was such a lovely word, I've decided I needed to use it a book somewhere.

Vicambulate: v. to walk about the streets

The word finds its roots in the Latin verb ambulare which means "to travel/to traverse" or "to walk". This root pops up lots of other places, like circumambulate which means "to walk around" or, one of my very favorite Cenozoic creatures, ambulocetus, which is an ancient whale ancestor and literally means "the walking whale". The vic part comes from the Latin vicus which means "a grouping of houses" or "village."
This one is easy. I already worked it in while I was doing a bit of rewriting/revision the other day. The scene here is that the main character, Nathaniel, is returning home after three years away at war. As he returns home, a storm breaks out over the city (oh, symbolism!).

"Nathaniel raced through the streets, despite the sheets of rain slicking the paving stones. Neither the city guards nor the commoners who could normally be seen vicambulating Rock Creek were to be found; even the cutpurses and beggars had sought shelter against the pounding rains of the storm. The only people who could be seen in the streets were Nathaniel and those knights who formed the honorary guard around him."

So, there we go. Three words thus far, and two of them have actually been worked into manuscript form. Working "ambulocetus" into a story may prove to be a touch more difficult.


Anna Russell said...

Wait - does that mean Vic's a street walker? I knew she was too nice to be real.

Fancy Schmancy said...

2 things: 1) I doubt I will ever be smart enough to read your book without the aid of a dictionary and 2) is there a double negative in that sentence or is it just me not being awake yet? "Neither the city guards nor the commoners...were not to be found".

Margo said...

Vicambulate is a fabulous word. If I vicambulated around my neighborhood without my dog though and the shoes that woman is wearing, the neighbs would start with the gossip.

Kristine said...

That site is awesome! I'm glad you pointed it out. Now I can combine curse words with even more grossly inflated speech :)

But really, love the site.

Soda and Candy said...

Okay, but that doesn't explain that chick with the unflatteringly tight t-shirt.

also, explain perambulate. or did I just make that up?

Eric said...

>chick with the unflatteringly tight t-shirt

What? I, for one, am very appreciative that Mr. Mjenks included it.

Pearl said...

I just love your love of words.

And can't wait to use "vicambulate" in casual company. It's gonna knock their socks off.


the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@ Anna: Well, she did walk down the street to take pictures of her neighbor's yard shit.

@ Fancy: No need for the dictionary, just dig through my blog archives. And, that double gotta understand, my in-laws were here and I was under a lot of...let's say...strain.

@ margo: I know! I like words that feature the root "ambul" in them. Lends a sort of profoundness to them, or something. Silly Romans, making us sound smart and awesome.

@ Kristine: Don't thank me; Vic is the one that turned my attention toward that site.

@ S&C: Amy Adams needs no explanation. Also, perambulate means "to walk through", such as "ambulare" means "to walk" and "per" means "through".

@ Eric: Every occasion deserves a little Amy Adams to spice things up.

@ Pearl: My love of words is what brought me here and kicked off my desire to learn Latin.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Fancy: You were absolutely right: there was a double negative there. Thanks for giving me the heads up. I've fixed it.

Vic said...

I love the way you used 'vicambulate'! (and thank you for the wonderful link, too :)

@Anna - I'm a woman of mystery.

BeckEye said...

I thought it was an awesome word too, until I got to "cutpurses." That's even better.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

I'll be sure to alienate all my friends with that choice vocab word during a casual lunch.

"Oh,I found this fabulous bag in a boutique while we were vicambulating in town."

They will think I've falen off my rocker because I'm quite sure none will be able to define it.

LiLu said...

I'm going to vicambulate in a mall with my family right now.

Shoot me.

Cowguy said...

Both words... prodigious and worthy of a 10 rating.

Yesterday we vicautoambulated in my truck.

*abuses the English language at every turn.*

Frank said...

I need to start incorporating these into my research papers so that my professors think I'm putting effort into them, rather than just typing a few sentences in between episodes of Mythbusters.

Soda and Candy said...

Ah, that makes sense.

Thanks mjenks!

Scope said...

So, "Cara and Scope vicambulated the streets of Chicago like mofo's." is an accurate use of the term?

Del-V said...

I love seeing words and figuring out the Latin root.

The Ambiguous Blob said...

Yay for new (to me) words!