Monday, December 06, 2010

I learned a new word.

So, while I was in Rome a couple of weeks ago, I picked a couple of the excellent Getty Imagery Guide books - Angels and Demons in Art (_not_ about the Dan Brown book), and Old Testament Figures in Art. Both extremely cool, fun to look through, and fascinating to me even though I've never been much of an artophile (whatever, that's totally a word now). Both guides are so excellent that I'm adding some other interesting ones from the same series onto my Amazon wishlist.

But! In the Angels & Demons guide, in the section about Charon, I learned a new word! An esoteric, rare word used to describe only a very particular thing, but a very interesting thing. This, for me, is the best kind of word. One that will set my heart to beating if I ever encounter it in print again, one that I will keep hidden in a side pocket in case I should ever chance to have a legitimate (ie not manufactured) opportunity to use it.

An obolus is a specific Greek coin, but it also means the coin put into a corpse's mouth during burial in order that they might pay Charon the passage across the river Styx. Obolus. I like it.


Eppy said...

I must find a way to use this word as soon as possible.

Shells said...

That is pretty cool. Good thing I have you, because I would never remember it myself.

Carol Younce said...

I thought they put coins on the corpse's eyes for paying the passage on the River Styx. Is that a different reference? Anyway, it is a super word and I hope you find the place to fit it in.

Just Katy said...

Sounds like a perfect fit for your next child's name.

Geary said...

It sounds like it should be related to "obelisk" somehow. Maybe if coins were more 3-D you could say the corpse had an obelisk obolus.

Disco Mom said...

...pronunciation guide, please. I'm going to church tomorrow and it might come up. I am not above manufacturing opportunities to use special smart words.

(In the mother's room at church -
"Oh, your baby is so cute. Wait, what's that in his mouth? Oh, it's a Cheerio, for a second I thought it was an obolus. Phew.")