Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Irreticences

I found this wonderful word (below) in a book by the amazing and incomparable Virginia Woolf, entitled Mrs. Dalloway. As soon as I read this word, I was certain that she had invented it for her own purposes, and a quick look in the online dictionary revealed that she had. So dear readers, this is perhaps the first time this word has been formally defined on the internet;

Irreticences (ir-RET-uh-suhn-ses) [Latin ir- not reticēre; to be silent]

n.

  1. outspoken, to speak freely; talkative; voluble.
  2. lack of restraint.

Usage: I can’t keep up with them, Peter Walsh thought, as they marched up Whitehall, and sure enough, on they marched, past him, past every one, in their steady way, as if one will worked legs and arms uniformly, and life, with its varieties, its irreticences, had been laid under a pavement of monuments and wreaths and drugged into a stiff yet staring corpse by discipline.

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Comments

  1. #1 ACW
    October 30, 2006

    That would be a plural noun, not an adjective. Is the word not in the OED?

  2. #2 bioephemera
    October 30, 2006

    “Irreticent” is in my circa-1925 Funk and Wagnalls dictionary as an adjective. The noun is not. Virginia may have just nouned it.

  3. #3 Carl Manaster
    October 31, 2006

    It might form a good new name for Tourette’s syndrome, if we need one.

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