Monday, March 05, 2007

Another word the Internet taught me: obnubilated

I was reading a followup story on the recent lunar eclipse at Playfuls, a science and technology site in the UK. It informed me that there will be another lunar eclipse viewable from America August 28, for those of us who missed the last one due to the vagaries of the clock or the weather. That was nice to know, but what made my day from a lexicographical point of view was encountering the following sentence in the story:
The eclipse from March 3 was the only one Britain inhabitants could watch without worrying about the weather. The last eclipse visible in the insular territory took place in 2004, but was obnubilated by heavy clouds.

My usual crutch, the American Heritage Dictionary, was absolutely no help. WordNet was. It's a lexical database for the English language at the Princeton University's Cognitive Science Laboratory. Here's the relevant part of their entry (the "S" stands for semantic relation).

S: (v) obscure, befog, becloud, obnubilate, haze over, fog, cloud, mist (make less visible or unclear) "The stars are obscured by the clouds"; "the big elm tree obscures our view of the valley"

S: (v) confuse, blur, obscure, obnubilate (make unclear, indistinct, or blurred) "Her remarks confused the debate"; "Their words obnubilate their intentions"
What would I do without the Internet? I can't wait for clouds to move in on August 28, so I can tell everyone I know, "I'd love to watch the eclipse of the moon tonight, but it looks as if the clouds will obnubilate it."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I got it from a Patrick O'Brian novel

has since become my new favorite word