Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a lovely meme hosted by Bermuda Onion each week to highlight new (to us) words that we come across in our daily reading.

This week I’ve been rereading The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald for the Classics Club.

Although I’ve read this book several times, the last time was about 15 years ago which might explain why I cannot remember any of these words!

1. EcholaliaThere was a boom of a bass drum, and the voice of the orchestra leader rang out suddenly above the echolalia of the garden.”

Echolalia is the often involuntary & senseless repetition of heard words.


2. NonolfactoryOver the great bridge, with the sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps all built with a wish out of nonolfactory money.”

I knew this had something to do with smell, or to be more precise, lack of smell but I pondered over it’s use in this particular sentence. Naturally google had the answer – this exact question had been asked and answered on yahoo…with the best answer being…

So you could functionally interpret “non-olfactory” here to mean without the stink of corruption and greed or other tainted realities.

Poetically, in a city “built with a wish,” non-olfactory money would be a gleaming investment from a pure heart.”

Now you know!


3. TrimalchioIt was when curiosity about Gatsby was at its highest that the lights in his house failed to go on one Saturday night – and, as obscurely as it had begun, his career as Trimalchio was over.”

Trimalchio is a character created by Petronius in the 1st century AD. Trimalchio was a freedman who attained great wealth and power through hard work and persistance. He was famous for throwing extravagant, exotic dinner parties.

‘Trimalchio in West Egg’ was Fitzgerald working title for the Great Gatsby.


4. PasquinadeWhen Michaelis’s testimony at the inquest brought to light Wilson’s suspicions of his wife I thought the whole tale would shortly be served up in racy pasquinade – but Catherine, who might have said anything, didn’t say a word.”

An anonymous lampoon or satire in verse or prose. Usually presented in a public place to ridicule a specific person.


6 thoughts on “Wondrous Words Wednesday

  1. Wow, it's been years since I've read that book and I don't remember any of those words. I should be able to remember the meaning of echolalia – I'll think of echo equaling repetition.


  2. I also read this classic novel, many years ago, so I did not remember these wonderful words. I think its time to reread Gatsby, armed with my new vocabulary. 🙂


  3. I read The Great Gatsby a few years ago- I don't remember these words in particular of course. I know echolalia and olfactory- but haven't heard of nonolfactory before- the other two are completley new to me too. Interesting post Brona.


  4. Great words Brona, and nice to meet you! Echolalia brought me back to my days teaching special ed- but surely not in the same meaning as the definition you shared! Did you like The Great Gatsby? It was one of those classics that I re-read recently and thought, why is this such a great piece of literature again? Did you know a movie is coming out? Starring Leo DiCaprio, so I'll probably watch it. 🙂 Thanks for \”playing!\”


  5. Yes I did know about the movie which is why I wanted to reread the book (I saw the trailers and felt that there were liberties being taken with the storyline and wanted to be up on the facts!)When I looked up echolalia the meaning came back to me from my teaching days too. I taught a number of children with Asperger's and autism and echolalia refers to their habit of repeating words, phrases and nonsense sounds randomly.


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