This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Sunday, 29 September 2013

Sunday Rest: infundibuliform jowls.

I've just got round to reading CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller. On page eighteen I've come across this:

...that patriotic Texan with his infundibuliform jowls and lumpy, rumpleheaded, indestructible smile that cracked forever across the front of his face like a black ten-gallon hat.

CATCH-22 is by almost all accounts a very good book (I haven't yet got far enough into it to judge for myself) but I'm afraid that  infundibuliform really does annoy me.

Yes, it may be one of Heller's characters showing off his knowledge, or his bitterness, or his obsessiveness, but I can't help but feel I'm being patronised, here.

So, what does infundibuliform mean?

No idea. Hang on, I'll look it up...

...here we are. Having the shape of a funnel.

Jowls, in the shape of a funnel?

But you can't have...

Well, never mind that, perhaps I'm missing something. It's a horrible horrible word.

And really very few funnel-shaped things deserve it.

Word Not To Use Today: infundibuliform. This word comes from the Latin infundere, to pour in, on, or out, from the Latin forma, a shape or likeness.

4 comments:

  1. Talk about a let down when I found out the meaning of this word!
    Maybe Mr. Heller was having a bad word day?
    I am curious to what funnel-shaped jowls look like! :)

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    1. I wondered about Beaker from the Muppets, but I've decided that as his neck isn't saggy his don't count as jowls.
      I'm definitely defeated on this one.

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  2. Madness.....maybe it means a jowl which just goes from the shoulders to the chin without any neck? I can explain but it would be hard. Showing off for sure but I did love Catch 22 when I was about 22 .Would it hold up? I think it would but haven't tried.

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    1. I know what you mean, but I think that's just a fat neck, isn't it? Is there an expert on jowls anywhere?

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