He's a daedal geezer

Mrs Apus interrupted my musings this morning by asking if I knew the meaning of a word she'd just encountered in her current read, Andrew Taylor's The American Boy (not only a winner of the Historical Dagger award, but shortlisted by Richard and Judy's Book Club, no less).

Now Mrs A's vocab is at least as extensive as mine so I was surprised, and asked for the word and its context, which is: daedal, "It was a daedal maze of chambers..." The OED Concise defines daedal as: (literary) "skillful, inventive, complex, mysterious; of the earth etc adorned with natural wonders."

Goodness knows what Mr Taylor thought it meant when he used it to describe a 19th century London slum but I plan to drop in into conversation on a regular basis. JD, for example, is in my experience a skillful and inventive wordsmith so daedal would seem to be a fair adjective... and if that means he's also complex and mysterious, well, why not?

1 comment:

JD said...

Thanks for your kind words, Apus! Not sure whether I am "adorned with natural wonders", though...

And I take it 'daedal' comes from or is related to Daedalus, wing-making dad of Icarus?

Also, and somewhat coincidentally, I heard Andrew Taylor give a reading at this year's Cheltenham Literature Festival. He stepped in at short notice after CJ Sansom – one of my favourite authors – pulled out.