Sunday, October 23, 2011

Word of the day: sibylline

The word of the day is sibylline:

Etymology:  < Latin Sibyllīn-us , < Sibylla  
A. adj.1. Pertaining to, uttered or written by, one or more of the Sibyls.In this sense usually with a capital, and qualifying books or oracles: on the nature of these see Encycl. Brit. XXII. 13. 
2. Oracular, occult, mysterious.
3. Excessive, exorbitant.  In allusion to the Sibyl who sold three books to Tarquinius Superbus at the price of the original nine. 
4. Resembling a Sibyl. 
B. n.In pl., the Sibylline oracles or books. (OED)

"On the mound

at the mouth hole,
he scouts around

with sibylline
yellow eyes

and then, owl-
wise, decides

to clean house."

 - Sidney Wade, "Burrowing Owl", 17 October 2011 The New Yorker

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