Word Wednesday.



1: serving to alleviate pain.

2: not likely to offend or arouse tensions: innocuous.

[Origin: Latin anodynos, from Greek anōdynos, from a- + odynē pain.]



1: something that soothes, calms, or comforts.

2: a drug that allays pain.


“Well,” I said, “look at this way. Some collectors are only interested in things that are like new, factory fresh, mint in the box. If something looks like it’s had a life before they got their hands on it, it loses its value. But then, other people believe that an object’s worth more if it’s been used for whatever it was designed for, so a stamp should have been stuck to an envelope and posted to somewhere a long way away, and a comic book is meant to be read and enjoyed, not sealed in a protective case and never opened, and an old racing car should be scuffed and grimy and—” with no particular emphasis “—scarred. And it’s the same with people. How much time do you think you’d want to spend with Barbie and Ken? Anodyne, by definition, is not entertaining.” – Normal, Graeme Cameron.

Book Note: This was one of the weirdest books I’ve read, a slice of life story, with the main character being a serial killer. You never know his name, and he’s never described. The book is filled with black humour, but the casual cruelty of the character is never disguised in any way. This is also a story of how everything starts to go wrong in his life, in a very big way. The book is written in such a way that the main character is often amusing, and finds himself in a situation you can sympathise with, which makes the reading a bit uncomfortable. Altogether, it’s an engaging and entertaining read. There are a number of different cops involved in the story too, and the second book is just fresh out, centering on Detective Sergeant Ali Green, who was very present in Normal. That one is called Dead Girls. I haven’t finished it yet, but there’s considerably more tension in the second book.


  1. Ice Swimmer says

    Anodyne feels like some rocket or space technology technical term. But it’s something that can have a huge effect inside us.

    Thank you for this series! It fills gaps in my English vocabulary, bigger and smaller, known and unknown.

  2. says

    Ice Swimmer, thank you so much! I love sharing words. Anodyne always seems like it should have something to do with shiny, shiny metal to me. I don’t why, but that’s always the first image I get when I see the word.

    Raucous Indignation, so do I.

    One word in this book which made me laugh out loud is not in the dictionary, but it’s rather grand, used in a very negative, insulting manner: Cockchops.

  3. says

    To me ‘anodyne’ is a highly technical term: I first encountered it (and only ever used it) when I was a math student, in the notion of an ‘anodyne morphism’ which belongs to homotopical algebra, a particularly rarified branch of abstract algebra. Space technology indeed :-)

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