Friday Links

I came across the word apotropaic yesterday. It means “designed to avert evil” – for instance, garlic when it’s used to repel vampires. But I’m thinking, if you use a word like “apotropaic” for something as simple as averting evil, you might be averting some readers too.

(Merriam-Webster adds that there’s an adverbial form: “apotropaically.” As in, “I shall be using this garlic apotropaically.” Dude, you gonna get bit.)

Also, in the unlikely event that you haven’t yet seen the sweet, sweet new Star Wars trailer, well, here’s the sweet, sweet new Star Wars trailer:

See you Monday!

2 responses to “Friday Links

  1. In most of the Nero Wolfe mysteries, Wolfe uses at least one very unusual word. I don’t think he ever used “apotropaic,” but it’s exactly the kind of word he would have used.

    He was the sort of person who would use such a word. Other than that type of scenario, I would never use a word like that in a story.

    (Of course, my detective character really likes words, and she prides herself in how she uses them…)

    • I came across it in the footnotes for Exodus, describing the blood smeared on the Israelites’ dwellings that kept away the angel of death. Even there, the author knew it was obscure, because he put “evil-averting” in parentheses. (It’s an odd place to use it, anyway, since the angel of death is a servant of God – grim rather than evil.)

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