Avenue de l'Opera, Paris, 1898 by Camille Pissarro

Avenue de l’Opera, Paris, 1898 by Camille Pissarro

I saw this word, tentacular while reading “The House I Loved” by Tatiana de Rosnay for book club. She refers to the streets of Paris having become, “gigantic, tentacular!” I immediately knew what that meant and formed a vivid mental image. This is the joy of effective word choice. The book itself received a lukewarm reception from our group. We liked the style of storytelling through letters, and we learned a great deal about the modernization of Paris in the 1860’s. But few of us could identify with the main character, and we felt there were great gaps in the characterizations; we’re a tough crowd. This group of fairly well-educated women includes a retired English teacher, another former teacher, and most are over 65. And as I’ve learned from being part of this group, having many years of life behind us, and the current stage we’re in impacts how we respond to a book. Oh yes; tentacular. My word processing program doesn’t agree this is a good word. Well, that’s not accurate. It doesn’t find the word, and offers me some amusing alternatives. But I assure you, it is a word. Merriam Webster gives the very simple meaning, “of, or relating to, or resembling tentacles”. Also, “equipped with tentacles”. It’s from the Latin, tentaculum. And it’s first known use was in 1828. Knowing that, having read it in a story that took place shortly after that time makes me like it all the more. I also found these fun tentacular leggings. And by “fun” I mean “odd”. I don’t actually care for them. They disturb me. But tentacular, this makes me smile.

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