January 8th, 2009

hat

Vocabulary skills I'm ill


Is it just me, or there something oddly seductive about an unabridged dictionary lying open on a desk?

Here are two words I had to look up from an article on Sudanese refugee camps in the New Yorker.

scree


(n) an accumulation of loose stones or rocky debris lying on a slope or at the base of a hill or cliff
Ali Abderaman, frightened but uninjured, last saw [his hijacked Toyota Landcruiser] heading overland, across the desert scree, in the direction of the border.

purpuric


(adj) of or relating to any of several hemorrhagic states characterized by patches of purplish discoloration (purpura)
The capital [of Chad] was a vast slum of seven hundred thousand people, the sky at dusk a purpuric haze from the smoke of wood cooking fires, the exhaust of ancient colonial-era vehicles, and windblown sand.