I'm still reading Rick Atkinson's Day of Battle (I've been reading other things too) and wanted to share a few of the interesting words he's used in the book. Although some are clear from the context, these are mostly words that I had to look up -- I've been reading the book some days with a dictionary next to me:
- On the invasion of Sicily: "For the past two days at Malta (Gen. Dwight Eisenhower) had been both giddy at HUSKY's apparent early success ... and splenetic at the absence of hard news." (p. 110) In this sense, splenetic means "Having an irritably morose or peevish disposition or temperament; given or liable to fits of angry impatience or irritability; ill-humoured, testy, irascible. (Frequently in the 18th century)," according to the OED. It comes from the Late Latin spleneticus, which is from the Latin splen for spleen.
- On Winston Churchill's many letters to Eisenhower, urging him to action against Italy and Rome in 1943: "As the prime minister's rhetoric grew febrile, metaphors piled up." (p. 136) Febrile means "marked or caused by fever : feverish," according to Merriam-Webster online. It comes from the Medieval Latin febrilis, from the Latin febris for fever.
- On combat in Sicily: "Four more Army divisions had become combat veterans, joining the four annealed in Tunisia." (p. 172) And on the invaision of mainland Italy: "Salerno annealed (Gen. Mark) Clark: he emerged stronger and wiser, if still so autocratic and aloof that soldiers now called him Marcus Aurelius Clarkus." (p. 237). Annealed, in this figurative sense, means strengthened or toughened, according to M-W. That comes from its literal definition: "to heat and then cool (as steel or glass) usually for softening and making less brittle ; also : to cool slowly usually in a furnace." It comes from the "Middle English anelen to set on fire, from Old English onælan, from on + ælan to set on fire, burn, from āl fire; akin to Old English æled fire, Old Norse eldr."