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I increase my vocabulary

February 26, 2018

I am always happy to add a new word to my store and today I acquired a lovely one. I was reading Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Suicide Club – his collection of three linked tales about the adventurer Prince Florizel of Bohemia. They are clever, entertaining stories of mystery and skullduggery set in late 19th century London, in the manner of Conan Doyle or EW Hornung. At one point one of the characters, a somewhat shady old doctor, says, of a dead body: ‘When this sort of clock has run down, it is no more to me than an ingenious piece of mechanism, to be investigated with the bistoury.’

Bistoury? What’s that? Even my spellchecker doesn’t know and adorns it with a squiggly red line. I looked it up and discovered that it means a long, narrow-bladed surgical knife, either straight or curved. Bistoury. A very good word. I don’t know if I shall ever have occasion to use it, but now it’s there should I need it.

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One Comment
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    Sounds like a series waiting to be written: Malachi Bistoury’s Medical Mysteries. He and his sidekick Lancet solve hospital based crimes.

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