Thursday, October 18, 2012

word of the day: quiddity

The word of the day is quiddity:

Etymology:  < Middle French quiddité (14th cent.; French quiddité ) and its etymon post-classical Latin quidditas (12th cent.; frequently from 13th cent. in British sources) < classical Latin quid (see quid n.1) + -itās -ity suffix.
 1.a. Chiefly Philos. The inherent nature or essence of a person or thing; what makes a thing what it is. (OED)

"No matter how rumpty-tum her diction, nothing can domesticate the freakish Land of Topsy-Turvy, dilute the glacial awe of the Land of Ice and Snow, or still the fear invoked by the fucking Land of Smack—an entire world whose quiddity is pain."

 - China Miéville, "Forward thinking", 4 & 11 June 2012 The New Yorker

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