An Obstreperous Concatenation of Adumbration: Wednesday Wordage

Yes, the title makes no sense. Yes, it’s the use of big words for big word’s sake. No, I’m not going to change it!

There is a therapeutic quality that comes with leafing through a dictionary and looking for a new word, and there is always a new word. It’s something I particularly enjoy, searching through the dictionary. I tend to avoid looking at online dictionaries if I can help it, not because they are bad, inaccurate, or incomplete, but rather because there is no opportunity to roam pages full of other words. How else would one stumble upon words such as adumbrate?

We English speakers and writers are spoilt for choice when it comes to our lexicon, and it would be a shame if we didn’t take full advantage of the varied vocabulary afforded to us. This is where Wednesday Wordage comes in. Every week I’ll bring three new – unnecessarily fancy – words to the table, and all you have to do is pick the ones you like and throw them at your friends.


Say: /ad-um-brayt/    Verb

Adumbrate is another word I learnt whilst reading a China Mieville novel – The Scar, I believe – and has two meanings.

  1. Give a general idea of; outline
  2. Be a warning of something to come

Adumbration noun. 

In a sentence, it may look like this

‘In the swirling fog, the figure of a large man was adumbrated by what little light penetrated the murk.’

-Origin: Latin, Adumbrare ‘shade, overshadow’

Synonyms: foreshadow, outline, herald

Antonyms: Illuminate.

An example in literature:

 “What manner of things were those shadows he sometimes glimpsed, behind the tightly tethered guard sharks, unclear through what must be adumbrating glamours?”

– China Mieville, The Scar


Say /Con-cat-e-nate/ Verb & Adj

I suppose that, in a way, this post is a concatenation. A chain of words all joined together in harmony inside this blog post. This is one of the better-known words I’ve covered, but it’s still brilliant.

It has two meanings

  1. Verb.  Link together
  2. Adj. Joined; linked.

Concatenation noun.

In a sentence, it may look like.

‘The concatenation of events which had finally led to the shooting’

-Origin: Late 15th century (as an adjective): from late Latin concatenat- linked together, from the verb concatenare, from con- together + catenare, from catena chain.

Synonyms: Series, progression, succession

Antonyms: Singluar, regression

An example in literature:

“There is a concatenation of events in this best of all possible worlds: for if you had not been kicked out of a magnificent castle for love of Miss Cunegonde: if you had not been put into the Inquisition: if you had not walked over America: if you had not stabbed the Baron: if you had not lost all your sheep from the fine country of El Dorado: you would not be here eating preserved citrons and pistachio-nuts.”

– Voltaire, Candide


Say /uh b-strep-er-uh s/ adjective

Yes, I was an obstreperous child. The obstreperousness was aided by the fact that one of the first words I learned was ‘no’.

So, you can probably guess the meaning of this word.

  1. Resisting control or restraint in a difficult manner; turbulent, unruly.
  2. Noisy, vociferous, or boisterous.

Obstreperously adverb, Obstreperousness Noun.

Used in a sentence, it looks like this.

‘Jordan was an obstreperous child.’

‘He was spurred on by some obstreperous desire to rebel.’

-Origin: From Latin obstreperus ‘clamorous’

Synonyms: Noisy, boisterous, unruly

Antonyms: Quiet, introvert

An example in literature:

Obstreperous, ‘huh,” said Tad. “I see you’ve been using that Big Word of the Day calendar I got you last Christmas.”

“That is irrefragable,” I told him solemnly.”

– Patricia Briggs, Frost Burned

That is it for this week’s wordage! I hope you enjoy the new format and have found at least one new word here. If you have any favourite, strange, or grandiloquent words, please share them with my in the comments below and perhaps they will end up in a future post.

More words next Wednesday.

Thanks for reading.

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5 thoughts on “An Obstreperous Concatenation of Adumbration: Wednesday Wordage

  1. Wundapolodious words as usual.

    Adumbrate is a lovely word – I’d go out for a drink with it. It reminds me of “Have we got any umbrication” from the film Withnail and I. I’m not even sure umbrication is a real word though. Another word used in that film sounds like “oomska”. I googled it and the best guess was that it’s pig latin for “scum”.

    None of this is germane to the post. I apologise.

    I knew “concatenate” from a tedious programming point of view. If you concatenate something in programming you splice 2 separate pieces of data together into one seamless piece of data – perhaps x = (first_name + ” ” + last_name).
    Truncate is another one that comes up in programming a lot. Feels like they’re siblings somehow.

    Obstreperous is a fantastic word. I vow to use it legitimately by the end of the day or commit seppuku.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Concatenation, as you said, appears a lot more frequently in terms of programming. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) I am not well versed in programming.

      I’m glad you’re going out there to use obstreperous! In fact, you should be obstreperous in your use of the word obstreperous.

      Please don’t commit seppuku, that would be unfortunate for all parties involved!

      Have a good week.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Trust me – it’s a good thing you don’t know anything about programming. Would not recommend on any level. (cue attack of the chess club die-hards)

        I tell you this – if you don’t start out brain dead and weird working in programming, then you sure as hell end up that way. I don’t think humans were meant to do those things.

        Obstreperous update:
        I haven’t used obstreperous yet today. In retrospect, I was a little hasty giving myself such a bold ultimatum. The main problem is I’m probably not going to see anyone today, let alone anyone obstreperous. So I may have to go the seppuku route. I should’ve chosen a milder forfeit – it looks so unpleasant.

        On an entirely unrelated note, what about those obstreperous Patriots eh?


  2. Pingback: Versimilitude in Chatoyant Petrichor: Wednesday Wordage – Jordan Reynolds

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