Friday, April 30, 2010

Words David Foster Wallace Circled in His Dictionary That Were Used in Infinite Jest (And Where They Appear)


A horizontal or nearly horizontal passage from the surface into a mine as contrasted to a shaft which is a vertical entry passage. An adit may be used for ventilation, haulage, drainage, or other purposes.

The destiny-grade event that happened to Orin Incandenza at this point was that just as he was passing glumly under the Home goalposts and entering the shadow of the south exit-tunnel's adit a loud and ominously orthopedic cracking sound, plus a shrieking, issued from somewhere on the field behind him. (pg. 291)


(botany) A taxonomic genus within family Simaroubaceae. A small group of trees native to Asia.

Joelle v.D. in her terry robe and gauze veil and still clutching a toothbrush has climbed out onto the little balcony outside the 5-Woman's window and into a skinny ailanthus beside it and is coming down, showing about two meters of spectacularly undeformed thigh, shouting Gately's name by the first name, which he likes. (pg. 614)

Depending on the throw of a die; random, arising by chance

Seemed intuitively to sense that it was a matter not of reduction at all, butperverselyof expansion, the aleatory flutter of uncontrolled, metastatic growtheach well-shot ball admitting of n possible responses, n2 possible responses to those responses, and on into what Incandenza would articulate to anyone who shared both his backgrounds as a Cantorian continuum of infinities of possible move and response, Cantorian and beautiful because infoliating, contained, this diagnate infinity of infinities of choice and execution, mathematically uncontrolled but humanly contained, bounded by the talent and imagination of self and opponent, bent in on itself by the containing boundries of skill and imagination that brought one player finally down, that kept both from winning, that made it, finally, a game, these boundaries of self. (pg. 82)


Summer and winter, indoors or alfresco. (pg. 389)

Dawn drills are of course alfresco until they erect and inflate the Lung, which Hal Incandenza hopes is soon. (pg. 452)

Except during periods of disciplinary conditioning, alfresco A.M. drills work like this. (pg. 453)

Void of feeling; not susceptible of deep emotion; passionless; indifferent.

This tendency to involuted abstraction is sometimes called "Marijuana Thinking"; and by the way, the so-called "Amotivational Syndrome" consequent to massive Bob Hope-consumption is a misnomer, for it is not that Bob Hope-smokers lose interest in practical functioning, but rather Marijuana-Think themselves into labyrinths of reflexive abstraction that seem to cast doubt on the very possibility of practical functioning, and the mental labor of finding one's way out consumes all available attention and makes the Bob Hope-smoker look physically torpid and apathetic and amotivated sitting there, when really he is trying to claw his way out of a labyrinth. (pg. 1048, fn a.)

A comment that makes an illuminating or entertaining point

He's thinking in an abstract absent way about limits and rituals, listening to Blott give Beak his apercu. (pg. 121)


having no light, especially no sunlight

Some E.T.A. twists Avril'd allowed into the classic L.A.S. path are e.g. that the seven subjects of the T and Q are mixed and not divided into Quadrivial Upperclass v. Trivial Ephebic; that E.T.A. geometry classes pretty much ignore the study of closed figures (excepting rectangles) to concentrate (also except for Thorp's Trigonometry of Cubes, which is elective and mostly aesthetic) for two increasingly brutal semesters on the involution and expansion of bare angles; that the quadrivial requirement of astronomy has at E.T.A. become a two-term elementary optics survey, since all the hardware required for everything from aphotic to apochromatic lenswork were and are right there in the lab off the Comm.-Ad. tunnel. (pg. 188)

all of the equipment available for carrying out a task, especially all the equipment used by a physician in the practice of medicine

Disassemblable scale and armamentarium and mood-altering substances used to be concealed in several factory-concealed niches in the special system of niche-riddled portable shelving Pemulis had installed at age 15. (pg. 1067)

An astronomical and navigational instrument for gauging the altitude of the Sun and stars.

Ken Erdedy noticed that nobody came right out and used the terms melancholy or anhedonia or depression, much less clinical depression; but this worst of symptoms, this logarithm of all suffering, seemed, though unmentioned, to hang fog-like just over the room's heads, to drift between the peristyle columns and over the decorative astrolabes and candles on long prickets and medieval knockoff and framed Knights of Columbus charters, a gassy plasm so dreaded no beginner could bear to look up and name it. (pg. 504)

(pathology, cytology) The destruction of an organism's cells by enzymes produced by the organism itself.

The best thing about satiation and slowing down on the eating is leaning back and feeling autolysis start in on what you ate and tending to your teeth while you gaze around the airy room at crowds and clumps of kids, observing behaviors and pathologies with a clear and sated head. (pg. 631)


The often ornamental coverings for an animal, especially a horse or an elephant.

Gately looks at a rectangular blue-selvaged expanse of clean linen whose gentle rises barely allude to any features below, he looks at her and has no idea whether she's serious or not, or whacked, or trying like Dr. Geoff Day to erect Denial-type fortifications with some kind of intellectualish showing-off, and he doesn't know what to say in reply, he has absolutely nothing in his huge square head to Identify with her with or latch onto or say in encouraging reply, and for an instant the Provident cafeteria seems pin-drop silent, and his own heart grips him like an infant rattling the bars of its playpen, and he feels a greasy wave of an old and almost unfamiliar panic, and for a second it seems inevitable that at some point in his life he's going to get high again and be back in the cage all over again, because for a second the blank white veil levelled at him seems a screen on which might well be projected a casual and impressive black and yellow smily-face, grinning, and he feels all the muscles in his own face loosen and descend kneeward; and the moment hangs there, distended, until the White Flag raffle coordinator for November, Glenn K., glides up to the podium mike in his scarlet velour caparison and makeup and candelabrum with candles the same color as the floor tile and uses the plastic gavel to formally end the break and bring things back to whatever passes here for order, for raffle drawing. (pgs. 366-367)

The veil is a sort of fellowship caparison. (pg. 533)


A misuse of a word; an application of a term to something which it does not properly denote.

This has got to be a mispronunciation or catachresis on R.v.C.'s part, since Clonidine--2-(2,6-Dichloroanilino)-2-imidazoline--is a decidedly adult-strength anti-hypertensive; the infant'd have to be N.F.L.-sized to tolerate it. (pg. 1053, note 285)


The condoning of an offence

He wasn't sure why, since it didn't seem to be any kind of slobbering inability to abstain that was the problem--he hadn't had so much as a mg. of a Substance of any kind since the 30-day urological condonation of last week. (pg. 796)


an act or process of merging

It rose in me, out of me, summoned somehow by the odd confluence of the fan and those notes. (pg. 649)

An après-garde digital movement, a.k.a. 'Digital Parallelism' and 'Cinema of Chaotic Stasis,' characterized by a stubborn and possibly intentionally irritating refusal of different narrative lines to merge into any kind of meaningful confluence, the school derived somewhat from both the narrative bradykineticism of Antonioni and the disassociative formalism of Stan Brakhage and Hollis Frampton, comprising periods in the careers of the late Beth B., the Snow brothers, Vigdis Simpson, and the late J. O. Incandenza (middle period). (pg. 996, note 61)


A group of individuals, created by law or under authority of law, having a continuous existence independent of the existences of its members, and powers and liabilities distinct from those of its members.

I've been asked to say for transcription how pleased the Glad Flaccid Receptacle Corporation is, during this potentially grave interval, to be a proud-- (pg. 883)


Delay, hesitation, procrastination.

...his face shiny with sweat and his talk full of blank cunctations and disassociated leaps... (pg. 368)


A style of blue and white earthenware.

An etagere filled with old-fashioned magnetic videos in bright adverting boxes, a cluster of blue-and-white delfts on the etagere's top shelf that had dwindled as one figurine after another got knocked off by Mario, stumbling or shoved. (pg. 951)


an independent treble melody usually sung or played above a basic melody

The catridge's theme-music is female-choral and very heavy and ironic on the descants. (pg. 702)


Having digits, fingers or things shaped like fingers; fingerlike

Only one or two remaining tips of the digitate spikes of the radial blades of the sun found crevices between the Tortolitas' peaks and probed at the roof of the sky. (pg. 97)


An angle between two plane surfaces

The mattress, a Simmons Beauty Rest whose tag said that it could not by law be removed, now formed the hypotenuse of a right dihedral triangle whose legs were myself and the bed's box spring. (pg. 495)

It was then that it occured to me that when I'd been supporting the bed's raised mattress with my chest and face preparatory to its removal from the room, the dihedral triangle I'd imagined the mattress forming with the box spring and my body had not in fact even been a closed figure: the box spring and the floor I had stood on did not constitute a continuous plane. (pg. 501)

(US, pathology) An excessive accumulation of serum in tissue spaces or a body cavity

Dural edema or something. (pg. 567)

He paces squeakily at the foot of the bed watching the R.N. turn the screws the right way and pushes his owlish glasses up and says that Clifford Pendleton, scratch golfer or no, is a post-traumatic maroon, that nebulized Mucomyst is for (and here his voice makes it clear he's reciting from memory, like to show off) abnormal, viscid, or inspissated post-traumatic mucus, not potential hemorrhaging or edema, and that 16 mm. siphuncular intubation itself had been specifically discreditated as an intratracheal-edema prophylaxis in the second-to-latest issue of Morbid Trauma Quarterly as so diametrically invasive that it was more apt to exacerbate than to alleviate hemoptysis, according to somebody he calls 'Laird' or 'Layered.' (pg. 921)

Ardor inspired by passion or enthusiasm.

As an active drug addict, Gately was distinguished by his ferocious and jolly élan. (pg. 55)

A warehouse, depot.

...the incredibly potent stash now wrapped tight in Suran and stashed deep in the toe of an old sneaker that sits atop the aluminum strut between two panels in subdorm B's drop ceiling, Pemulis's time-tested entrepôt... (pg. 216)

This was before the discovery of the ultimate entrepôt above the false ceiling in Subdorm B's male hallway. (pg. 1067)

a light shoe having an upper made of fabric and a sole of rope

An expensive pair of Brazilian espadrilles goes by on the left and enters a stall, and the espadrilles come around and face me. (pg. 15)

She's wearing two pairs of work-gloves and plastic surgery-type bags over her espadrilles, which were the only footwear she could garden in. (pgs. 1041-1042)

Capable of being molded into the shape of an artifact or art work

We are shown how to fashion masks of ennui and jaded irony at a young age where the face is fictile enough to assume the shape of whatever it wears. (pg. 694)

Relating to the use of science and technology in the investigation and establishment of facts or evidence in a court of law.

...and 24 Shriners had been grotesquely decapitated across Southeastern Ohio before the federal A.T.F. traced the grisly forensic fragments back to B. Green Sr.'s Blammo lab, in Waltham... (pg. 581)


resembling a lightning flash

Lightning claws the eastern sky, and it's neat in the weight room's dark because Lyle is in a slightly different position and forward angle each time he's illuminated through the window up over the grip/wrist/forearm machines to his left, so it looks like there are different Lyles at different fulgurant moments. (pg. 387)


(biochemistry) A nonessential amino acid, amino-acetic acid, C2H5NO2 found in most proteins but especially in sugar cane; the simplest amino acid.

The plastic Pepsi bottle and glass cigar tube and lighter and packet of glycine bags are a shape in the corner of the rain-darkened cloth purse that rests on the floor just below her dangling clogs. (pg. 229)

From the purse she removes...two little thick glycine bags each holding four grams of pharmaceutical-grade cocaine... (pg. 236)


having regular overlapping edges; intertwined

The Advanced Basics chairperson looks like a perfect cross between pictures of Dick Cavett and Truman Capote except this guy's also like totally, almost flamboyantly bald, and to top it off he's wearing a bright-black country-western shirt with baroque curlicues of white Nodie-piping across the chest and shoulders, and a string tie, plus sharp-toed boots of some sort of weirdly imbricate reptile skin, and overall he's riveting to look at, grotesque in that riveting way that flaunts its grotesquerie. (pg. 344)

Mutually destructive; most often applied to warfare.

Reference to January-February Y.D.A.U., when person or persons unknown went around coating selected toothbrushes of the Boys and Girls 16's with what was finally pinpointed as betel-nut extract, causing panic and internecine finger-pointing... (pg. 1077, note 352)


A dark powder (stibnite) used as eye makeup, especially in Eastern countries.

Then at the four-way meeting Tavis arranged, the old B.U. coach showed up in L.L. Bean chinos and a Lacoste polo shirt and got a look at the size of Orin's left arm, and then at Orin's Moms in a tight black skirt and levantine jacket with kohl around her eyes and a moussed tower of hair and about fell back over sideways the other way. (pgs. 285-286)


One who receives a legacy. entertainment cartridges have been obtained from the Boylston St. InterLace outlet where the medical attaché's wife, like all the veiled wives and companions of the Prince's legatees, has a complimentary goodwill account. (pg. 35)

(pathology) An excessive curvature of the spine, causing a hollow in the back.

Bradypedestrianism-wise, Mario had not so much club feet as more like block feet...together with the lordosis in his lower spine, they force Mario to move in the sort of lurchy half-stumble of a vaudeville inebriate... (pg. 313)


(anatomy) A tubular opening or passage in the body.

Then that overfull heat in various cranial meatus. (pg. 60)

He has an arrival routine where he skips the front entrances and comes in through the south side's acoustic meatus... (pg. 182)


(biology) Having an abruptly tapering point

...on one biceps either an icepick or a mucronate dagger... (pg. 208)

The fingers being not only mucronate and talonesque but nonprehensile, which is what made Mario's knifework untenable at table. (pg. 314)

a separate streamlined enclosure mounted on an aircraft to house an engine, cargo, or crew.

...and an ATHSCME Exhaust-Flow Effectuator that an ATHSCME crew in one of the ATHSCME helicoptors will bring in in a sling and cable and mount and secure on the Lung's nipply nacelle at the top of the inflating dome. (pg. 269)


(mineralogy) A banded variety of chalcedony, a cryptocrystalline form of quartz.

The onyx coffee table Mario had fallen against... (pg. 953)


(usually in plural orts) a scrap of leftover food; any remainder

By this time the E.T.A.s are eating more slowly, playing in that idle post-prandial way with the orts on their plates... (pg. 438)


Being uniformly sensitive across the entire visible range, and thus reproducing colours faithfully

So the tenure-jockeys and critics who were hailing this millennial new Orthochromatic Neorealism thing as the real new avant-garde thing were getting tenure by blasting Dick and Godbout and the flying Snow Brothers and The Stork for trying to be avant-garde, when really they were self-consciously trying to be more like après-garde. I never did get straight on what Orthochromatic means, but it was very trendy. (pg. 1027)


giving birth; in labour

...with Madame Psychosis as the Death-Mother figure inclined over it, parturient and nude, talking down to it... (pgs. 788-789)


A partially shaded area around the edges of a shadow, especially an eclipse.

The rock faces on either side of the truck when 27 goes through blasted hills of rock, the very fringes of the Berkshires' penumbra, are either granite or gneiss. (pg. 797)


A state of act of violating faith or allegiance; violation of a promise or vow, or of trust reposed; faithlessness; treachery.

Don, I dreamed the whole mad repressed third-grade interval of grandiose perfidy all over again. (pg. 814)

A dressage movement in which a horse trots in a stationary position while using high lifting of the legs.

The Csikszentmihalyi kid was doing a kind of piaffer in place, his knees hitting his chest, stretching his hip-flexors out. (pg. 965)


Any of various deciduous trees of the genus Populus.

Then the actual building's driveway's an even more winding little road that's barely more than a tunnel through meditative pines and poor-postured Lombardy poplars. (pg. 797)


A gate in the form of a grating which is lowered into place at the entrance to a castle, fort, etc.

...Clipperton stares wordlessly up at the little wrought-iron racquet-heads that serve as spikes at the top of the portcullis and fencing around E.T.A. ... (pg. 432)


The act of passing by, disregarding or omitting.

...Survivalism, Preterition, Anti-Abortionism... (pg. 1058, fn. 5)


to enlist [someone] (v.) or a new member of an organization (n.)

'And you, White. You sought to recruit him!' (pg. 14)

Q.v. the drill sergeant telling the recruit to drop and give him fifty, etc. (pg. 515)


(anatomy) Any of several straight muscles in various parts of the body, as of the abdomen, thigh, eye etc. get them past the Security lady at the Rectus Bulbi... (pg. 1032, note 180)


A network or grid

...after he'd done a reckless amount of a hallucinogen he'd refer to only as 'The Madame' he'd gone around for several subsequent weeks under a Boston sky that instead of a kindly curved blue dome with your clouds and your stars and sun was a flat square coldly Euclidian grid with black axes and a thread-fine reseau of lines creating grid-type coordinates... (pg. 542)


A piece of land that juts out to form an angle

An elite private high school up near the Methuen salient. (pg. 1078, note 371)

Marked by or given to using irony in order to mock or convey contempt

We could hear a couple of sarcastic whistles at Freer's unitard. (pg. 909)


A tree of species Sassafras albidum of the eastern United States and Asia having mitten-shaped leaves and red, aromatic heartwood.

...synthesizing methylenedioxy psychedelics from nutmeg and sassafras oil... (pg. 904)


Rough and covered with, or as if with, scabs

A rude whip-lashing shove square in the back and my promising body with all its webs of nerves pulsing and firing was in full airborne flight and came down on my knees this flask is empty right down on my knees with all my weight and inertia on that scabrous hot sandpaper surface forced into what was an exact parody of an imitation of contemplative prayer, sliding forward. (pg. 168)

...a scabrous fire escape at each window... (pg. 197)


A stiff, cylindrical military dress hat with a metal plate in front, a short visor, and a plume.

Idris Arslanian's spectacular bearskin shako is held in place with a chinstrap. (pg. 1029, note 148)


To make a shrill sound, as of bagpipes.

...skirl of wind on the sharp edges of dumpsters... (pg. 556)


A box, in the form of a book, used for keeping botanical specimens etc.

Different-colored beanies spill from the rolling solander box, whose lock's hasp is broken and protrudes like a tongue as it rolls. (pg. 342)


To induce someone to commit an unlawful or malicious act, or to commit perjury

...Pemulis takes such elaborate precautions in all extracurricularsmaking a Substance-customer explicitly suborn him, etc. ... (pg. 1035, note 211)


A set of rules that govern how words are combined to form phrases and sentences.

Marathe rarely yielded to the temptation to correct Steeply, whose horrid pronunciation and the syntax as well Marathe could never determine for sure either was or was not an intentional irritant, intended to discomfit Marathe. (pg. 529)


A sport played by either two or four players with strung racquets, a 2½" (6.4 cm) ball, and a net approximately 3 feet high on a clay, grass, or cement court.

That real tennis was no more reducible to delimited factors or probability curves than chess or boxing, the two games of which it's a hybrid. (81)

There are 295 instances of the word "tennis" in Infinite Jest.


A ductless gland, consisting mainly of lymphatic tissue, located behind the top of the breastbone. It is most active during puberty, after which it shrinks in size. It plays an important role in the development of the immune system and produces lymphocytes.

And at the same time felt sure in her guts' pit that the woman could have sat there and cut out Joelle's pancreas and thymus and minced them and prepared sweetbreads and eaten them chilled and patted her mouth without batting an eye. (pg. 747)


The THIRTIES, a new literary magazine


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