As I was perusing twitter today, and looking for new ways to procrastinate, I came across a gem of a tweet from @EmilyFRussell (https://pisscoffeeandvinegar.wordpress.com/), the author of Aurian and Jin: A love story. She donated to the twitterverse the following eight words: Kerfuffle, shibboleth, axiom, seraglio, hexerei, sanguine, and squeen. I have taken up the totally unnecessary challenge of using all of these in a sentence (not really possible). The further challenge was to do it in fewer than 800 words. Well, my distinguished challenger (of sorts), I have done this in fewer than 800 characters, with some bonus vocab. Enjoy.
Amoleqi tugged nervously at the sleeve of his thawb and squeaned at the door to the seraglio of the prince’s women. Just striding past caused a shortness of breath and light-headedness. He firmly believed in the old axiom that seraglios were dens of hexerei. A whiff of pungent incense from under the door put a vision of the lurid hangings of sanguine, incarnadine, and puce that must furnish such a place. More than anything, he wished to petition the king to eliminate such places, where the minds of men were molded like soft clay, but he was among the shibboleths of the court. No man, no matter how noble, from a different district could bring up such a topic without starting another contentious kerfuffle.
Definitions, from the OED where possible, and yes I’m taking some liberties, but I think I was true to the intent and general meaning.
Incarnadine – Properly, Flesh-colored, carnation, pale red or pink; but also used for various shades of crimson or blood red. (OED)
kerfuffle – commotion / disturbance, particularly involving conflicting viewpoints. (This word not in the version of the OED I have)
shibboleth – This one seems to have no easy translation, I’ve checked a couple of sources. Basically it’s a manner of speaking or habit that sets a class apart or distinguishes foreigners. (My version of the OED doesn’t give a particularly good definition of this)
axiom – self evidently true.
seraglio – The part of a Mohammedan dwelling-house (esp. of the palace of a sovereign or great noble) in which the women are secluded; the apartments reserved for wives and concubines; a harem. (From the OED)
hexerei – witchcraft (I hella like this word BTW. IMF use it at some point, the sound of it evokes some really great imagery.)
sanguine – Using definition 1 in my version of the OED – Blood red
squean – to look askance (Squeen appears in the Urban dictionary. I opted for the OED version)
thawb – The robe traditionally worn in middle-eastern cultures
puce – Purple/brown color
Oh. Migod. I was actually wearing a hat when I read this, so I literally, honestly, and truthfully took that bastard OFF.
You also made me realize something tooth-grindingly embarassing, which is: I totally mispelled squean. And, actually, this wasn’t the usage of it I prefer: I like squean as a comic marking (the glint off of teeth, or signifying intoxication). By the way, I just spent like twenty minutes searching google for a better word for these things than ‘punctuation mark’ because it damn well isn’t actually punctuating anything, so if you can find a better word for that particular variety of typographical character, my hat comes off again. Oh. Btw, the same place I looked online to frantically check my squean spelling gave me grawlix as well–those nonsense characters that appear when a comic person is cursing: !!?#$!
At any rate, nice work!
PS–Thank Terry Pratchett for hexerei. 😛
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I would hardly call the squean/squeen ‘mis-spelling’ something worthy of embarrassment, it’s not like it’s in the spellchecker, I mean it’s barely in the dictionary for crying out loud. I looked up squeen in the urban dictionary and concluded you didn’t mean the top definition there and so hit the OED. I like your definition better than the one I found, though it would have made for a much harder procrastination challenge. In any case, that was fun distraction thanks!
This. Was. Too. Funny.
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