Words: gibbous, adj

ONE NEEDS little excuse to reach out for Aldous Huxley's first, best novel Crome Yellow. Only Lady Ottoline Morrell and her friends pictured within objected to this account of hopeless love, literary aspiration and eccentricity in a household recognisably Garsington.

However much one has learned in the intervening years, one always feels more intelligent for it. And once again becomes on the look-out for some reason to refer to a gibbous moon. The most famous use of the word in a 20th-century novel (an instance absent from the OED), this variant of a word that means convex means that the illuminated portion is greater than a semi-circle, less than a circle - and can mean hunch-backed, something which the gangling Huxley could never say of himself.

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