Favorite Words Buried in Books


Exercise care when using this word.  Young Marie, heroine of Alice McDermott’s Someone, had her mouth washed out with soap–twice–after her mother caught her using it.  Poor Marie was just appropriating the word from her neighbor, Pegeen Chahob, who used the word to describe herself, in particular her habit of habitually falling.  According to Pegeen, an amadan is a fool.

Favorite Words Buried in Books

tarde venientibus ossa—to the latecomer are left the bones.

Neither of his daughters had any idea, were as carefree as Hobbits, never guessing the Shadow that loomed on the horizon.  On his days off, when he wasn’t at the clinic or in his study, writing, Abelard would stand at his rear window and watch his daughters at their silly children’s game until his aching heart could stand it no more. 

Each morning, before Jackie started here studies, she wrote on a clean piece of paper: Tarde venientibus ossa.

From The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.

Favorite Words Buried in Books

tikkun olam. A Hebrew phrase meaning “repair the world”.

tikkun olam.  A Hebrew phrase meaning “repair the world”.  Found in A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon.

“Christ—” [said Ed.]

“Sure, him, too—why not?” [Ed’s father said.]  “You and Rabbi Steuyer and J.C. can talk over how you and the schwartzes should create a new holiday.  Why don’t you go and do that? You can serve sweet potatoes and matzoh for the Seder. 

“And when you’re finished with your big discussions, when you’re done with your bullshit about tikkun olam, when you’re done with your important and noble plans, you can step outside and get your wallet stolen and your ribs kicked in for good measure.”

“What’s tikkun olam?” asked Hugh, predictably.

“It’s an obligation to heal the world,” said Ed.