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Subdety - real word?

  1. Nov 27, 2014 #1

    DaveC426913

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    Encountered this word in the book I'm reading.

    "He was mindful of the subdeties of rank."

    Google finds examples of the word being used, yet no dictionary seems to list it, or its presumed root subdety.


    I'm only 15% into this book and have already encountered almost a half dozen words I've never heard of.

    orchidectomy
    vade mecum

    Unking -
    this one is a word, not makes no sense in the context it is used:

    "He unhooked the body brace and began Unking it to Mac's armour."

    Not only it is oddly capitalized, but it's the wrong kind of verb. It would be unkinging.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2014 #2

    Danger

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    Perhaps the writer doesn't know how to spell "subtlety"?
     
  4. Nov 27, 2014 #3

    DaveC426913

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    That would make perfect sense in context, since the rest of the sentence is "deferential but not toadying".

    But impossible to believe from a Hugo Award winning Canadian author.
     
  5. Nov 27, 2014 #4

    Evo

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    subdeties - It's not in any dictionary I can find, either a typo or the author is making words up. I agree with it being subtleties.

    An Orchiectomy is "
    1. surgical removal of one or both testicles. But no such word as orchidectomy, which maybe is the removal of orchids. oo) :p
    vade mecum is the only one that comes up
    What on earth are you reading?

    I'm alwas finding typos and grammatical errors in books, amazing how these errors are not caught.

    I hate writers that use archaic and pretentious words. Especially if they can't get them right.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014
  6. Nov 27, 2014 #5

    Danger

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    I'm afraid that I've never heard of him, but his credentials are certainly impressive. These days, though, it could have been a glitch in an auto-correct word processor.
     
  7. Nov 27, 2014 #6

    DaveC426913

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    Except there are several online instances of it, that seem to use it in a similar context.

    I am finding that spelling variant in some dictionaries, including medical dictionaries.

    In context, it is a helpful procedure when living in a remote outpost.

    Literally means "go with me"

    In context, it is equipment that comes with the character, tailored to her.

    http://www.amazon.ca/Bios-Robert-Charles-Wilson/dp/0812575741 Discovery of a planet light years away with highly lethal biosphere. :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  8. Nov 27, 2014 #7

    collinsmark

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    I'll go out on a limb here, but the capital U in Unking suggests that Unk might be a proper name. Perhaps there was once some guy named Unk that had the notable habit improvising armor.

    An example of the capitalization of proper name roots: "Burmese and/or Polynesian immigrants eventually Americanized the the dish, thus inventing crab rangoon."

    I don't know if that logic applies to Unking though. It's just a guess.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014
  9. Nov 27, 2014 #8

    lisab

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    Maybe he meant "subdeity" -- a lesser god.

    Or "subduties" -- the tasks a submariner is assigned to do on a submarine.

    Or "scubyties" -- bow-ties that Scooby Doo wears.
     
  10. Nov 27, 2014 #9

    DaveC426913

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    I just realized I've seen this kind of thing before.

    Unking looks a lot like linking - to OCR software. I'll bet this book has been scanned from a hard copy.

    Not sure if subdeties looks like subtleties, but still...
     
  11. Nov 27, 2014 #10

    nsaspook

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  12. Nov 28, 2014 #11

    Jonathan Scott

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    I agree that both of these case look like OCR substitutions. Another frequently seen corruption occurs with words like "burn".
     
  13. Nov 28, 2014 #12

    DaveC426913

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    OK, now I see it subtleties and subdeties are identical if the OCR picked up tl as a d .

    This makes further sense if you presume that whatever font they were using has rounded ascenders, such as l and t.
    li looks like U; tl looks like d.
     
  14. Nov 28, 2014 #13

    nsaspook

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    Last edited: Nov 28, 2014
  15. Nov 28, 2014 #14

    Danger

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    I have exactly the same problem reading PF. If I wear my reading glasses, I have to almost have my nose against the screen. That's very uncomfortable and probably not good for me. Sometimes I have to give up and magnify the image.
     
  16. Nov 28, 2014 #15

    lisab

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    Looks plausible. Though it's sloppy editing to run something through an OCR and then not run it through a simple spellchecker, IMO.
     
  17. Nov 29, 2014 #16

    Borg

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  18. Nov 29, 2014 #17

    jim mcnamara

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    Is the author a conlanger at all? If those words repeat then it is possible that is what Wilson is doing. As an alternate hypothesis, anyway. Many writers from Tolkien to Ursula K LeGuin made up languages. I think Tolkien leads the pack numerically speaking.

    Apparently, this is fairly common in Fantasy and SF writing. Most of the list of authors who pursued syntethetic languages were in F & SF genre.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_language_inventors
     
  19. Nov 29, 2014 #18

    RonL

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    Same here, but I find so much of it has little affect on my every day life :) however I seem to be able to send people into a deeper state of boredom, at a much quicker pace ?:):D
     
  20. Nov 29, 2014 #19

    DaveC426913

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    It seems not.


    Found another word, which he uses many times: kacho. It seems to be analogous to 'bureaucratic manager'.

    Literally: "He's a manager, a kacho. He'd be happy if nothing ever changed."
     
  21. Nov 30, 2014 #20

    Danger

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    Could some of it just be slang from another language, like Yiddish or Afrikaans or something?
     
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