Saturday, November 05, 2005
Here is the entry in Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) for wanhope:
n. [AS. wan, won, deficient, wanting + hopa hope: cf. D. wanhoop. See Wane, and Hope.] Want of hope; despair; also, faint or delusive hope; delusion. [Obs.] Piers Plowman. "Wanhope and distress." Chaucer.Wanhope is a word worth resuscitating, I think.
Lately I've been trying to read Nicolás Gómez Dávila's Escolios a un Texto Implicito, with a dictionary at my right hand and a grammar at my left. Often I wish I had the luxury of an English translation, but it's good exercise for my feeble brain to struggle with the Spanish. One of his aphorisms is:
La literatura contemporánea parece una algarabía de eunucos en celo."Contemporary literature is like a gabbling of eunuchs in heat." The primary meaning of algarabía is the Arabic language. But according to my dictionary, it also means "gibberish, din of voices, uproar." A word redolent of Spanish history. Algarabía is one word I won't soon forget.