Words

anguine, adj.
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The Independent Culture
THAT MARVELLOUS American poet Frank O'Hara (1926-1966) is, like the rather different Kipling, best read in bulk. Treasures surface unawares. However complex the thought, his vocabulary is clear, if sometimes demotic.

He can, though, pull one up, as in a rhapsodic mediation upon art and love whose narrator sings "towards you all anguine conebos seem to scoot". The adjective is of simple Latin origin, meaning snake-like in form. This, more nimble on the tongue than the zoological forms of anguineal or anguineous, was apparently last used, exquisitely, by Sheridan Le Fanu in 1871: "her beautiful eyebrows wore that anguine curve, which is the only approach to a scowl which painters accord to angels". Now, as for conebos . . .

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