2008-05-06

 

gelid

adj: very cold, icy. From the Latin gelidus which is from gelu meaning frost.

I came across this word last night in Stephen King's short story I am the Doorway: ... the flesh was soft and gelid, like the flesh of an apple gone rotten ....

From the context, I guessed wrong at the meaning. My impression was it meant something akin to gelatinous - I was wrong.

From a writing perspective, I wonder if the adjectives and the simile are both necessary. The simile amplifies the adjectives and repetition or amplification can be a good thing - it can also be wordy

"... the flesh was soft and cold ..."

"... the flesh was like an apple gone rotten ..."

But who am I to tinker?

Has anyone ever seen this word (and knew what it meant) before today?

[As an aside, I notice I haven't been receiving e-mail notifications from blogger for the past few days, so I failed to notice that there were new comments. Yes, yes, I know, I can always check my own blog, rather than checking my e-mail. My settings, I just checked, are to receive e-mail notification.]

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Comments:
like the word puce, it sounds like it should mean something else. i agree.
 
I never heard the word before. Don't you wonder how it was incorporated into the author's vocabulary?
 
ingrid: I had to look that word up, oh, yipes, it is way off from what I would expect it to mean.

barbara: I think he used a thesaurus.
 
No, I don't think I've come across "gelid" before. I too would likely have thought it meant something like "gelatinous."
 
breal: I don't think it is one of those common words (even uncommon words) that we should ever be expected to know.
 
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