Seven words I learned from Will Self

We sometimes buy the International Herald Tribune from the local tabac. Because it mostly combines its own original work with New York Times articles, it’s a pretty exceptional paper. It’s also quite light on the advertising, presumably because it makes more of its revenue through newsstand sales. We pay €3 for the paper, which seems pretty rich. But occasionally it’s nice to turn an actual newsprint page, instead of just swiping digital ones aside.

If we buy the paper on the right Sunday, we also get the accompanying International Herald Tribune Style magazine. I was paging through it and discovered this profile of a post-Hermoine Emma Watson by Will Self.

I consider myself a reasonably well-read person, but I was delighted to discover no less than seven terms in the article that I was unfamiliar with. Here they are, in order of appearance, with definitions drawn from (with the exception of ‘Meisser’):

mien: noun air, bearing, or demeanor, as showing character, feeling,

Meisser: The first hard-paste porcelain developed in Europe in the early 18th century.

moue: noun A pouting grimace (rhymes with ‘moo’)

neoteny: noun Also called pedogenesis. the production of offspring by an organism in its larval or juvenile form; the elimination of the adult phase of the life cycle.

bildungsroman noun A type of novel concerned with the education, development, and maturing of a young protagonist. Also known as a ‘coming of age’ story. Examples might include David Copperfield, The Catcher in the Rye and The Kite Runner.

éclat noun Brilliance of success, reputation.

cavile verb To raise irritating and trivial objections; find fault with unnecessarily (rhymes with ‘gavel’).

I can’t really recommend the profile. As with nearly all celebrity profiles, it’s pretty banal. And, as somebody I know pointed out, it reads like Will Self drew the short straw at an editorial meeting.

That said, I am grateful for all the new vocabulary words.

1 comment

  1. Ooo, I’m a fan of new vocabulary words too. See I could have used a clever little word for “ooo” but am lacking. Nice share db, and I’ve noted your veiled slag of Emma Watson.

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