Word Wednesday.

Scapegrace / Lucubrations / Odium

Scapegrace, noun: an incorrigible rascal; a habitually unscrupulous person; a complete rogue.


“In 1890 and 1891, the scapegrace Walter James Chadwick lived in Hulme, Manchester.”

Lucubration, noun: laborious or intensive study; also: the product of such study, usually used in the plural.

[Origin: Latin lucubration-, lucubratio study by night, work produced at night, from lucubrare to work by lamplight; akin to Latin luc-, lux.]

“There were some initial police lucubrations that it might not be a case of murder at all, since the drunk Annie Yates might have slipped and struck her head against the furniture; when she wanted to bandage her wound with the towel, she had passed out, and been suffocated by the towel slipping over her nose and mouth.”


Odium, noun.

1: the state or fact of being subjected to hatred and contempt as a result of a despicable act or blameworthy circumstance.

2: hatred and condemnation accompanied by loathing or contempt: detestation.

3: disrepute or infamy attached to something: opprobrium.

[Origin: Latin, hatred, from odisse to hate; akin to Old English atol terrible, Greek odyssasthai to be angry.]


“Two professional translators were employed to prepare French and German versions of the police placard, for insertion in the main newspapers of those countries; there was odium when the German version was found to contain a long list of linguistic lapses, and Dr. Althschul, the professional translator, had to submit a ten-page memorandum in his defence, saying that it was all just jealousy from colleagues who envied his position.”

All from Rivals of the Ripper: Unsolved Murders of Women in Late Victorian London, Jan Bondeson.

Word Wednesday.

We have two words today, because they are both from the same book, and I did not wish to choose between them.

Salubrious / Obliquity

Salubrious, adjective: favourable to or promoting health or well-being.

-salubriously, adverb.

-salubriousness, noun.

-salubrity, noun.

[Origin: Latin salubris; akin to salvus safe, healthy.]


“Bloomsbury to the north and Soho to the west were far from salubrious parts of London, but St. Giles’s remained one of the worst blackspots on the London map until the 1890s.” – Rivals of the Ripper: Unsolved Murders of Women in Late Victorian London, Jan Bondeson.

Obliquity, noun, plural -ties.

1: deviation from moral rectitude or sound thinking.

2a: deviation from parallelism or perpendicularity; also: the amount of such a deviation. b: the angle between the planes of the earth’s equator and orbit having a value of about 23°27′.

3a: indirectness or deliberate obscurity of speech or conduct. b: an obscure or confusing statement.

[Origin: Middle French obliquité from Latin obliquitatem slanting direction, obliquity.]

(15th Century)

“The Era newspaper blamed the police for their hounding of Smith and insisted that ‘the mental obliquity and professional incapacity displayed by the police in getting up the case against Smith, for the Cannon Street murder, shows more than ever the absolute necessity that exists for the establishment of a public prosecutor’. – Rivals of the Ripper: Unsolved Murders of Women in Late Victorian London, Jan Bondeson.

These two words definitely do not belong together, but I love the way they sound together: Salubrious Obliquity.

Word Wednesday.



Marked by an impassive matter-of-fact manner, style, or expression.

-deadpan, adverb.

(C 1928)


1: a completely expressionless face.

2: a deadpan manner of behaviour or presentation.

(C 1930)

Transitive Verb.

To express in a deadpan manner.

-deadpanner, noun.

(C 1942)

“Cold enough,” Tristan hazarded, “to form a Bose-Einstein condensate?” “I love it when you talk dirty,” Oda said, so perfectly deadpan that I did a double take.” – The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland.

Word Wednesday.



1: contrary to or different from an acknowledged standard, a traditional form, or an established religion: Unorthodox, Unconventional <heterodox ideas>

2: holding unorthodox opinions or doctrines.

[Origin: Late Latin heterodoxus, from Greek heterodoxos, from heter– + doxa opinion.]


“A verifiable fallen academic (from the American University and Tufts, among others), Marston had a gift for dressing sensationally vulgar ideas in pseudo-intellectual jargon, and he exploited it for a few years in Hollywood, advising the studios on how to maneuver around the Hays Office censors and sneak sex in films through symbolism and coded language. Relocated to New York and the publishing industry, he hustled pseudoscience and heterodox titillation through comics and popular magazines (in bylined articles, interviews, and the advertisements for Gillette Razor Blades). – The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America, David Hadju.

Word Wednesday.



1 a: an outline, feature, or contour of a body or figure and especially of a face – usually used in plural. b: a linear topographic feature (as of the earth) that reveals a characteristic (as a fault or the subsurface structure).

2: a distinguishing or characteristic feature – usually used in plural.

– lineamental, adjective.

[Origin: Middle English, from Latin lineamentum, from lineare to draw a line, from linea.]

(15th C.)

“To open the female body was not just to embark upon a voyage of scientific discovery, but it was also to trace the lineaments of the rebellious nature of womankind. That rebellious nature could undermine the smooth transfer of material goods from one generation to the next, just as, in the garden of Eden, it had seemed to undermine the divine plan itself. Every female body which found its way into the anatomy theatre was, therefore, a potential second Eve, just as every male body was a potential second Adam. To be an Eve, however, was very different from being an Adam within the patriarchal structure of early-modern culture. If the Renaissance anatomy theatre, in its modes of ritual and representation, offered the suggestion of redemption to the male cadaver, what it offered to the female was the reverse: a demonstration of Eve’s sin, a reinforcement of those structures of patriarchal control which, so the argument ran, were necessary to avoid a repetition of that first act of rebellion in the garden of Paradise.” – The Body Emblazoned, Dissection and the Human Body in Renaissance Culture, Jonathan Sawday.

Note: This book is still available, and considerably less expensive than back when it was first published. Recommended, it’s a fascinating read all the way through.

Word Wednesday.



1: a wily subterfuge.

2: an action intended to mislead, deceive, or trick; stratagem.

[Origin: French, from Old French, roundabout path taken by fleeing game, trickery, from reuser. Early 15c., “dodging movements of a hunted animal; 1620s, a trick, from Old French ruse, reuse diversion, switch in flight; trick, jest (14c.), back-formed noun from reuser to dodge, repel, retreat; deceive, cheat,” from Latin recusare deny, reject, oppose, from re– + causari plead as a reason, object, allege, from causa reason, cause]


“She was already thinking of how she may use the astrologer to negotiate a better fee with the Village Chief. The stars and their confluence could at first be hard to read, leaving some uncertainty about whether the two prospective spouses were well suited to each other. Then, if the groom was steadfast on getting the bride that he had his eyes on, for an additional fee the matchmaker could be convinced to get a second astrologer’s interpretation, one more auspicious and conforming to the will of heaven. She had been doing her trade throughout several provinces for years, and that ruse had yet to fail her. – Village Teacher, by Neihtn.

Note: Village Teacher is an excellent story, recommended.

Educational Gaming: The Italian Renaissance.

In an unprecedented move to bolster innovation in learning, a new course centered around a video game was launched this fall at Texas A&M University. The course uses the video game ARTé: Mecenas, developed by Triseum. It includes faculty-led lectures and immersive game play whereby students are transported to the 15th and 16th centuries to commission works of art as a Medici banker. Students can earn one credit hour for achieving 100 percent mastery in the game.


André Thomas, CEO of Triseum and a professor at Texas A&M University, spoke about the development of the game and its applications:

“ARTé: Mecenas was created out of necessity. I was approached by a faculty member at Texas A&M, Dr. Spurgeon, who was teaching Art History Survey to non-art students. In just two semesters she had to cover 5,000 years of human art history on a global scale, which is like trying to see Europe in a speed train in a week. She wanted to provide more context and deeper meaning for her students, and thought this could be accomplished through a game. Since 97% of students play games for four hours or more every week, it seemed to be an ideal way to engage students with the course content. She came to me to help design and develop an art history game that not only would teach students about the art and its relevance, but one that also would be engaging.

You can read more at Medievalists and Triseum.

Word Wednesday.



1: Capitalized: a deity erroneously ascribed to Islam by medieval European Christians and represented in early English drama as a violent character.

2: an overbearing or nagging woman: shrew.

[Origin: Middle English Termagaunt, Tervagaunt, Old French Tervagan the imaginary deity: c.1500, “violent, overbearing person” (especially of women), from Teruagant, Teruagaunt (c.1200), name of fictitious Muslim deity appearing in medieval morality plays, from Old French Tervagant, a proper name in “Chanson de Roland” (c.1100), of uncertain origin.

Termagant, adjective: overbearing, shrewish. (C 1598)

“The Englishman hardly knew whether to put him down as a man haunted by a fixed delusion, or as one oppressed by a guilty conscience, or as an unbearably henpecked husband. The probabilities, when reckoned up, certainly pointed to the last idea; but, still, the impression conveyed was that of a more formidable persecutor even than a termagant wife.” – Canon Alberic’s Scrap-Book, M.R. James.

Word Wednesday.



A vessel in which the consecrated host is exposed for the adoration  of the faithful. Example.

[Origin: Middle English mustraunce, monstrans demonstration, monstrance from Anglo-French mustrance show, sign, from Medieval Latin monstrantia, from Latin monstrare to show, from monstrum.]

(15th Century)

There’s also a monstrance clock: The monstrance clock, or mirror clock, developed during the Renaissance. The monstrance was a cross-shaped gold or silver vessel which played an important part in church ritual and often incorporated sacred figures as part of the design. The clock made use of a rotating ball at the top or in the base to indicate the time of day.

“Two years ago, the clock tower had collapsed, almost completely destroying the choir loft and the vestry at a time when more than hundred people were in the church. An elderly widow, Regina Reichart, was crushed in the rubble, and took three days and three nights of digging to find the buried monstrance.” – The Play of Death, Oliver Pötzsch.

Given that monstrance means to demonstrate or show, I think it would a fine word for those who insist on demonstrating their assholism.


Ghost – Monstrance Clock. If you don’t know:

In the last tour, Papa Emeritus III had a monologue about this song, that was usually said before it: in the end and summing it up, he says it’s a song that” paints a picture of how the female orgasm can be achievied”, as it is deemed as “a craft of the devil”. In the monologue, Papa also talks about sexual encounters and the synchrony and affinity between a two people, reaching orgasm together.

Word Wednesday.

Defenestration / Defenestrate

Noun / Transitive Verb.

1: a throwing of a person or thing out of a window.

2: a usually swift dismissal or expulsion (as from a political party or office.)

– defenestrate, transitive verb.

[Origin: de – + Latin fenestra window.]


Due to the limitations of early Krakau translation software, the first words broadcast to humanity by another sentient species, in Earth Year 2153 and at a volume of 104 decibels, were:

“We come in harmony to defenestrate your dingo.”  – Terminal Alliance, Jim C. Hines.

Defenestration is an act with a very long history, intimately intertwined with politics, and more than once, the start of a war.

Word Wednesday.

The Penguin Book of the Undead: Fifteen Hundred Years of Supernatural Encounters, Scott G. Bruce.


Noun, plural –gies.

1a: a portentous event: Omen. b: something extraordinary or inexplicable.

2a: an extraordinary, marvelous, or unusual accomplishment, deed, or event. b: a highly talented child or youth.

[Origin: Middle English, from Latin prodigium omen, monster, from pro–, prod– + igium (akin to aio I say).]

(15th Century).

“In the northern parts of England as well, we know of another prodigy, not unlike this one and equally strange, that happened around the same time. At the mouth of the river Tweed and under the jurisdiction of the king of Scotland, there is a noble town called Berwick. In this town there lived a man of wealth, but a scoundrel, as became clear afterward. After his death he was buried, but at night he went forth from his grave through the workings – as some believe – of Satan. And followed by a pack of loudly barking dogs, he wandered about hither and thither.” – The Penguin Book of the Undead: Fifteen Hundred Years of Supernatural Encounters, Scott G. Bruce.

“In truth, we should clearly remember very carefully that whenever prodigies are clearly revealed to people who are still alive whether by good or evil spirits, it often happens that those who see them do not live for very long thereafter.” – The Penguin Book of the Undead: Fifteen Hundred Years of Supernatural Encounters, Scott G. Bruce.

Digital Humanities.


First, What Is Digital Humanities?

Humanity (and not just the humanities) mediated through the largest extant body politic. A global vehicle (and personal prosthetic) for containing what it is to be human and humanist–within and without the academy.Robert Long.

Digital Humanities: the creation and preservation of extensible digital archives to document, and tools to interact with, material culture.Robert Whalen, Northern Michigan University.

A fluid term to describe a variety of practices applying and theorizing the intersection of technology and humanities questions.Amy Earheart.

There’s more. Much more.

Introduction: In the decades following the onset of the Index Thomisticus project, medievalists were often early adopters of the digital, and continue to play an important role in the development of a broader field, which came to be called digital humanities. This field took other forms and names during its emergence and subsequent development: humanities computing, humanist informatics, literary and linguistic computing, digital resources in the humanities, eHumanities, and others.

These competing alternatives, among which “humanities computing” had long been dominant, have only recently made place for the newly canonical term “digital humanities,” which today is rarely contested. “Digital humanities” is generally meant to refer to a broader field than “humanities computing.” Whereas the latter is restricted to the application of computers in humanities scholarship and had narrower technical goals, the former also incorporates a “humanities of the digital,” including the study (potentially via traditional means) of digitally created sources, such as art and literature.

DH is therefore profoundly multidisciplinary and attracts contributions from scholars and scientists both within and outside the humanities and the humanistic social sciences. Digital humanists have taken care to define themselves in an inclusive rather than exclusive manner. As a result, the term “digital humanities” connotes a greater sense of integration than the diversity of approaches that are sheltered within the “big tent” of DH and that are also reflected in the contents of this supplement.

You can read more at Medievalists, and that article led me to a full open access issue of Speculum! Some very good reading there, including The Digital Middle Ages: An Introduction.

Word Wednesday.



1: destructive of life: Deadly.

2: injuring or endangering society: Pernicious.

3: causing displeasure or annoyance.

4: infectious, contagious.

– pestilently, adverb.

[Origin: Middle English, from Latin pestilent-, pestilens pestilential, from pestis.]

(14th Century)

“Sir Richard was a pestilent innovator, it is certain. Before his time the Hall had been a fine block of the mellowest red brick; but Sir Richard had travelled in Italy and become infected with the Italian taste, and, having more money than his predecessors, he determined to leave an Italian palace where he had found an English house.” The Ash-Tree, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, by M.R. James.

Note: It seems to me that pestilent innovator is a fine descriptor of Trump, although the ‘innovator’ might be a tad complimentary.