One more item from the Courtjester's Madazine Pending File.
Another item from the Courjester's Madazine Pending File
What's written below is another of those little rambles our chief penned, probably not with publication in mind. However, he’s not with us today, so we’re slipping it in and taking joint responsibility for doing so. The staff.
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A few days ago I was reading a newspaper article and came across the word numinous. I distinctly remembered checking its meaning on at least two earlier occasions, but still wasn’t quite clear about it. Something to do with saintliness or divinity, I seemed to recall. To make sure, I decided to consult my dictionary. Without looking, I reached out, hauled down the trusty volume at the end of my bookshelf and began pawing through it.
To my surprise, I didn’t find the word I was seeking. However, I did locate numismatics and spent a few minutes boning up on coins. That caused me to pull out small reference book which had more details about this subject. Among other things I learned that if I manage to dig up a 1933 penny I’ll be worth plenty. However, the trouble with very rare items is that they’re pretty well all accounted for, so I doubt there is much chance of my getting rich that way.
It was only when I’d finished this fascinating mini-study and put aside the little book that I realised I’d initially pulled out my encyclopedia instead of the dictionary – the two tomes are about the same size – so I got the right one and spent a further five minutes trying to remember the word I was seeking. On succeeding, I again set off in search of ‘numinous’, only to be waylaid again, this time by numina, which referred me to numen, a presiding deity.
I was getting warm but didn’t quite make it because just below numen came numeral, under which heading there was an example of the Roman counting system. Off into another thicket, where I spent a while satisfying myself that I could work out various dates and times the way J. Caesar and company did. I was quite pleased with my progress but unfortunately for my initial purpose, my eye then fell upon ‘numerator’, which made me think of ‘denominator’, which in turn moved me on to mathematics. This reminded me that I’d been meaning to find out whether that word is singular or plural, so I went off on a further little excursion. That was inconclusive but it did persuade me that I could get a lot of pleasure by doing more of this lexicographical wayfaring, much in the manner of a flaneur sauntering city streets.
On finishing with numerals and mathematics, I had again forgotten the word I’d set out to check. This time I lost track altogether, and have just remembered that I was looking for numinous. On this occasion you may be sure that I’ll find it pretty quickly. See you soon, perhaps between nugatory and nuncio, or maybe elsewhere.
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