I’m still enjoying Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson, which is good because I’m on page 294. Only 622 pages left to go. I get a little lost, sometimes, in the 17th century English and European geopolitical intrigues.
It helps if I understand all the words. Yesterday, I looked up obluquy from this bit of dialogue which is confusing, in part, because the speaker is confused:
“He has enemies,” was all Roger would say.
“That I see,” said Daniel, “and, too, I see that the Duke of Gunfleet is one of them, and that he, and other Papists, like the Duke of York, are a great power in the land. What I do not understand is why those two enemies, Epsom and Gunfleet, a few minutes ago were as one man in heaping obloquy on the memory of John Wilkins.”
According to my Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (1979), obloquy means “a strongly condemnatory utterance.” The second definition adds shadows to the first, “the condition of one that is discredited : bad repute.”
Good thing I looked it up. I thought they were being complimentary and that the word might be related in some way to obituary — which usually only tells the good parts of a person’s story. Obituary comes from a Latin root that means deceased. Obloquy is formed from two Late Latin roots — ob for against and loqui to speak, so “to speak against.”
Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by Bermudaonion’s Weblog. Kathy says: “Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.”