Words I've Looked Up While Reading Kraken

I’m about ¾ through China Miéville’s Kraken. Since my trusty Ninjawords iPhone app keeps a log of all the words I’ve looked up, I thought it’d be fun to list the ones I checked recently. Lots of the magic-y words he uses are pretty clear in context but it’s fun (for me) to get the clear definition.

  • afflatus: A sudden rush of creative impulse or inspiration, often attributed to divine influence.

  • aleatory: Depending on the throw of a die; random, arising by chance.

  • gusset: A small piece of cloth inserted in a garment, for the purpose of strengthening some part or giving it a tapering enlargement.

    A small piece of mail, providing some protection where two plates of armor are joined, usually at the elbows, under the shoulders, and behind the knees.

  • keloid: A hard raised growth of scar tissue at the site of an injury.

  • lepidoptery: the scientific study of the lepidoptera (butterflies and moths).

  • sybarite: A person devoted to pleasure and luxury; a voluptuary.

Throw in chthonic and oneiric, which I mostly remembered from earlier Miéville dictionary-diving (and Alan Moore and Grant Morrison), and what I find fascinating is that you get a pretty good idea of what kind of book Kraken is just from the words it contained that I didn’t know.