Last month’s selection for our Diversity Book Club was the Pulitzer Prize-winning Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King about Thurgood Marshall and his NAACP colleagues defending black men against racist charges. I’m working on a review of the book. In the meantime, here are two new words I learned.
Hoping to keep within Lake County’s jurisdiction any inquiries into the fatal shooting, Willis McCall had asked Judge Futch to have a “court-appointed elisor” investigate the death of Samuel Shepherd, but Futch had declined, stating, “the Governor said he would not recognize such a person.” p. 241
My Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (published in 1979) doesn’t have an entry for elisor. Dictionary.com to the rescue — an elisor is a person who performs the duties of a sheriff when he’s disqualified from doing it himself. In this case, Sheriff McCall shot Shepherd. Even in the racist climate of Lake County, Florida, at that time, he couldn’t investigate the incident himself.
It was Hunter’s galluses that captured Marshall’s eye. Red galluses….If segregation and white supremacy wanted a symbol in the South, it was found in red galluses. pp. 293, 294
My college dictionary did better with this one. As I guessed from context, galluses mean “suspenders” in some American dialects. This may have been a deliberate choice on the part of the author — aside from expressing a Southern dialect, the word “galluses” is related to the word “gallows.” Appropriate in a book that discusses lynching.
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.”