Tuesday, July 13, 2010

25 weird words in Clark Ashton Smith’s 1932 horror tale “The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis”

In re-reading one of my favorite Martian archaeological stories, Clark Ashton Smith’s horror tale “The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis,” which was heavily gutted before it was published in the May 1932 issue of Weird Tales magazine but was restored in 1988 with nearly two thousand words of original atmospheric description, I suddenly realized how many weird words it contains. Here are 25 of those words, all of which I don’t know the meanings of, and many of which I’ve never even seen before!

1. munificent
2. teocallis
3. lethiferous
4. noxious
5. irrespirable
6. prestigitation
7. cerement
8. petrific
9. ebon
10. beetled
11. fantasmagoric
12. adumbrations
13. incubi
14. miasmata
15. effluvia
16. vicissitudes
17. sepulchral
18. miasmal
19. tumescence
20. fetor
21. putrescence
22. turgescent
23. pallid
24. cinerary
25. stertorous

Presumably, all of these words are in some dictionary!


thingmaker said...

Hey... I use about half of those words on a regular basis... Of course I do run Call of Cthulhu - the tabletop RPG.
Actually any regular reader of gothic horror will know most of them. I mean, noxious,irrespirable miasmal effluvia from sepulchral places... You know, the sort of places from which fantasmagoric incubi clad in the pallid cerements of the grave arise from the ebon darkness... I would worry if I noticed a substantial tumescence beneath those foetid shrouds... An incubus with a petrific tumescence, breathing stertorously... That's trouble.
I prefer to remain anomoalous... but I happen to be signed in...

Paul said...

I'm surprised Smith didn't work in the word: eschatological