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Topic: Kraken, anyone? And help with a definition

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Subject: Kraken, anyone? And help with a definition
Date Posted: 7/20/2010 3:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2008
Posts: 84
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I am reading China Mieville's new book, Kraken, and it is a great read. But I'm glad I got it on the Kindle with the built-in dictionary; I've had to look up a dozen words so far. But it's funny, and creepy, and weird in a good way.  With secret cults, giant squid, and other mysterious and occult happenings, the book is fun, too. But I can only read it when I can sit down and concentrate, because the plot is twisty and the vocabulary a notch above most novels I read.

So, does anyone know the definition of "abquotidian"...the sentence it is from: "It was in Cricklewood that, after a consultation based on highly specific geographopathic criteria, the Metropolitan Police had located its abquotidian operatives: the FSRC and their highly specialist support staff..." I did not find it with a Google search.

Thanks, Ceil

Date Posted: 7/20/2010 3:51 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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I wonder if that's a typo, because I can't find any evidence that it's a word in English either. . . "quotidian" simply means "daily" or "commonplace". . . the ab- does mean "away from," so if it isn't a typo it is likely a word Mieville made up to indicate special operatives, ones that are not commonplace or that are irregular in some fashion. . . it certainly could be a word (quotidian is latin-based, so the apellation of "ab-" makes sense grammatically) so maybe it's just an uncommon British usage? Or a really old word? Dunno, not a linguist. . . but I'd read it as either a typo or meaning "irregular," depending on what exactly the FSRC does. . .

Date Posted: 7/20/2010 4:54 PM ET
Member Since: 5/26/2009
Posts: 4,368
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Mieville's being clever and instead of using abnormal/unorthodox/special he's using the prefix ab- to the root word quotidian to serve the same function.  Doing so he's proving that he is both loquacious and inventive with the English language.

Date Posted: 7/21/2010 10:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I put this on my WL a while back. Good to know that it's well good but not thrilled that I'll need a dictionary handy when I read the book.