WORD LISTS

50 Great Words from "The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," by Junot Diaz

June 6, 2012
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bane
They say it came first from Africa, carried in the screams of the enslaved; that it was the death bane of the Taínos, uttered just as one world perished and another began; that it was a demon drawn into Creation through the nightmare door that was cracked open in the Antilles.
utter
They say it came first from Africa, carried in the screams of the enslaved; that it was the death bane of the Taínos, uttered just as one world perished and another began; that it was a demon drawn into Creation through the nightmare door that was cracked open in the Antilles.
provenance
No matter what its name or provenance, it is believed that the arrival of Europeans on Hispaniola unleashed the fukú on the world, and we’ve all been in the shit ever since.
implacable
For those of you who missed your mandatory two seconds of Dominican history: Trujillo, one of the twentieth century’s most infamous dictators, ruled the Dominican Republic between 1930 and 1961 with an implacable ruthless brutality.
potent
A portly, sadistic, pig-eyed mulato who bleached his skin, wore platform shoes, and had a fondness for Napoleon-era haberdashery, Trujillo (also known as El Jefe, the Failed Cattle Thief, and Fuckface) came to control nearly every aspect of the DR’s political, cultural, social, and economic life through a potent (and familiar) mixture of violence, intimidation, massacre, rape, co-optation, and terror; treated the country like it was a plantation and he was the master.
designation
I’m not entirely sure Oscar would have liked this designation.
cohere
Twenty-four-hour zafa in the hope that the bad luck will not have had time to cohere.
nascent
Because in those days he was (still) a ‘normal’ Dominican boy raised in a ‘typical’ Dominican family, his nascent pimpliness was encouraged by blood and friends alike.
debonair
A tall, debonair pretty boy whose ‘enormous phallus created havoc in Europe and North America,’ Rubirosa was the quintessential jet-setting car-racing polo-obsessed playboy, the Trujillato’s ‘happy side’ (for he was indeed one of Trujillo’s best-known minions).
havoc
A tall, debonair pretty boy whose ‘enormous phallus created havoc in Europe and North America,’ Rubirosa was the quintessential jet-setting car-racing polo-obsessed playboy, the Trujillato’s ‘happy side’ (for he was indeed one of Trujillo’s best-known minions).
apotheosis
It truly was a Golden Age for Oscar, one that reached its apotheosis in the fall of his seventh year, when he had two little girlfriends at the same time, his first and only ménage a trios.
morose
Oscar went home morose to his pre-Korean-sweatshop-era cartoons — to the Herculoids and Space Ghost.
lope
In later years, after he and Olga had both turned into overweight freaks, Oscar could not resist feeling the occasional flash of guilt when he saw Olga loping across a street or staring blankly out near the New York bus stop, couldn’t stop himself from wondering how much his cold-as-balls breakup had contributed to her present fucked-upness.
pejorative
≡ The pejorative parigiüayo, Watchers agree, is a corruption of the English neologism ‘party watcher’.
neologism
≡ The pejorative parigiüayo, Watchers agree, is a corruption of the English neologism ‘party watcher’.
introvert
Oscar was a social introvert who trembled with fear during gym class and watched nerd British shows like Doctor Who and Blake’s 7, and could tell you the difference between a Veritech fighter and a Zentraedi walker, and he used a lot of huge sounding nerd words like indefatigable and ubiquitous when talking to niggers who would barely graduate from high school.
indefatigable
Oscar was a social introvert who trembled with fear during gym class and watched nerd British shows like Doctor Who and Blake’s 7, and could tell you the difference between a Veritech fighter and a Zentraedi walker, and he used a lot of huge sounding nerd words like indefatigable and ubiquitous when talking to niggers who would barely graduate from high school.
ubiquitous
Oscar was a social introvert who trembled with fear during gym class and watched nerd British shows like Doctor Who and Blake’s 7, and could tell you the difference between a Veritech fighter and a Zentraedi walker, and he used a lot of huge sounding nerd words like indefatigable and ubiquitous when talking to niggers who would barely graduate from high school.
iota
His adolescent nerdliness vaporizing any iota of a chance he had for young love.
tutelage
His tió Rudolfo (only recently released from his last and final bid in the Justice and now living in their house on Main Street) was especially generous in his tutelage.
blithely
It wouldn’t have been so bad if these chickies hadn’t treated Oscar like some deaf-mute harem guard, ordering him around, having him run their errands, making fun of his games and his looks; to make shit even worse, they blithely went on about the particulars of their sex lives with no regard for him, while he sat in the kitchen, clutching the latest issue of Dragon.
proficiency
In these apocalyptic daydreams he was always some kind of plátano Doc Savage, a supergenius who combined world-class martial artistry with deadly firearms proficiency.
dyspeptic
Senior year found him bloated, dyspeptic, and, most cruelly, alone in his lack of girlfriend.
epiphany
Right there he had an epiphany that echoed through his fat self: He realized his fucked-up comic-book-reading, role-playing-game-loving, no-sports-playing friends were embarrassed by him.
pseudo
Changes, Oscar said pseudo-cryptically:
vortex
Without even realizing it he’d fallen into one of those Let’s-Be-Friends Vortexes, the bane of nerdboys everywhere.
annihilation
With Manny and his big cock around, Oscar was back to dreaming about nuclear annihilation, how through some miraculous accident he’d hear about the attack first and without pausing he’d steal his tío’s car, drive it to the stores, stock it full of supplies (maybe shoot a couple of looters en route), and then fetch Ana.
emaciated
He was this intense emaciated guy with marathon-runner limbs and voracious eyes; when they shook hands Oscar was sure the nigger was going to smack him, he acted so surly.
voracious
He was this intense emaciated guy with marathon-runner limbs and voracious eyes; when they shook hands Oscar was sure the nigger was going to smack him, he acted so surly.
surly
He was this intense emaciated guy with marathon-runner limbs and voracious eyes; when they shook hands Oscar was sure the nigger was going to smack him, he acted so surly.
chisel
I just hope you ain’t trying to chisel in on my girl, guy.
extricate
He liked to kid himself that it was only cold anthropological interest that kept him around to see how it would all end, but the truth was he couldn’t extricate himself.
prey
He saw his entire writing future flash before his eyes; he’d only written one novel worth a damn, about an Australian hunger spirit preying on a group of small-town friends, wouldn’t get a chance to write anything better — career over.
euphoria
There was the initial euphoria of finding himself alone at college, free of everything, completely on his fucking own, and with it an optimism that here among these thousands of young people he would find someone like him.
premonition
And at that moment, for reasons you will never quite understand, you are overcome by the feeling, the premonition, that something in your life is about to change.
begrudge
For as long as you’ve been alive you’ve had bruja ways; even your mother will begrudge you that much.
callow
He was like all boys: beautiful and callow, and like an insect he couldn’t sit still.
utopian
On my days off I would drink with Aldo, or I would sit in the sand dressed in all black and try to write in my journal, which I was sure would form the foundation for a utopian society after we blew ourselves into radioactive kibble.
bereft
I stayed out as much as I could and waited for the feelings to come back to me, to tell me what I should do next, but I was bone-dry, bereft, no visions whatsoever.
putrid
I would sit there with Aldo and his putrid father and the old shows would come on the TV, the ones me and my brother used to watch when we were kids, Three’s Company, What’s Happening, The Jeffersons, and my disappointment would grind against some organ that was very soft and tender.
delude
That’s how deluded I was by then.
frenzied
Not the frenzied Baní of right now, supported by an endless supply of DoYos who’ve laid claim to most of Boston, Providence, New Hampshire.
tranquility
It was here that Beli lived with her mother-aunt, if not exactly content, then certainly in a state of relative tranquility.
inclination
Almost any other Third World girl would have thanked Dios Santísimo for the blessed life she led: after all, she had a madre who didn’t beat her, who (out of guilt or inclination) spoiled her rotten, bought her flash clothes and paid her bakery wages, peanuts, I’ll admit, but that’s more than what ninety-nine percent of other kids in similar situations earned, which was nathan.
enumerate
From what was easy to enumerate: the bakery, her school, dull-ass Baní, sharing a bed with her madre, the inability to buy the dresses she wanted, having to wait until fifteen to straighten her hair, the impossible expectations of La Inca, the fact that her long-gone parents had died when she was one, the whispers that Trujillo had done it, those first years of her life when she’d been an orphan, the horrible scars from that time, her own despised black skin.
lineage
But despite the girl’s admirable lineage, Beli herself had not grown up in her parents’ upper-class milieu.
milieu
But despite the girl’s admirable lineage, Beli herself had not grown up in her parents’ upper-class milieu.
punctilious
In these last seven years, meticulous punctilious La Inca had undone a lot of the damage that life in Outer Azua had inflicted, but the girl was still crazy rough around the edges.
infamous
For those of you who missed your mandatory two seconds of Dominican history: Trujillo, one of the twentieth century’s most infamous dictators, ruled the Dominican Republic between 1930 and 1961 with an implacable ruthless brutality.
meticulous
In these last seven years, meticulous punctilious La Inca had undone a lot of the damage that life in Outer Azua had inflicted, but the girl was still crazy rough around the edges.

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Monday June 11th 2012, 8:55 PM
Comment by: Naflas N.
we should have an androd app for this list :)

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