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Welcome to 2013! What better way to start the year than with a weird word.

Today’s word is inspissate, pronounced “in-SPIS-ate,” and it means “to thicken, as by evaporation; to make or become dense.”

First thing that popped in my mind was cooking, but it turns out people are affected by inspissation, too.

thefarside.com

thefarside.com

Cletus’s refusal to read signs indicated an inspissated mind, no matter how much he protested to the contrary.

Bear with me as we gather a little background – I’m still reading “Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt” by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart, and have reached the part where Consuelo marries the Englishman Charles Richard John Spencer-Churchill, better known as the 9th Duke of Marlborough.

www.wikipedia.com

wikipedia.com

After a very brief courtship (six weeks or so) Alva, Consuelo’s overbearing mother, hustled her daughter down the aisle, marrying Consuelo off to the 9th Duke on November 6, 1895. Consuelo was the only daughter of William K. and Alva Vanderbilt, and was one of several American heiresses who married into European aristocracy, Winston Churchill’s mother, Jennie Jerome, among them.

The 9th Duke and Winston Churchill were first cousins; Winston was wordy and full of ideas, while the Duke is a little harder to pin down. He’s described in the book as having “considerable ill humour,” while also being “sensitive and hospitable.”

One historian called the 9th Duke “an inspissated little man with a truly appalling attitude toward the ‘lower orders.'”

In other words, “a dense little man who disses commoners”? Ouch!

It seems that one day, Winston and the 9th Duke were discussing England’s rising unemployment figures, and “the Duke said disagreeably that he hoped they would reach two million,” according to Mackenzie Stuart’s book.

Well, that’s a cringeworthy comment, isn’t it?

welcome2britain.com

welcome2britain.com

Consuelo came with a hefty dowry of $2.5 million, much of it going toward the upkeep of Blenheim, the 9th Duke’s palace; you think that would cheer up the Duke just a bit, but it seems not.

But how can we incorporate inspissated into our daily lives? Let’s see!

Norman’s attempts at becoming the next Iron Chef failed miserably when his sauce inspissated to a thick glop.

Hopefully both your cooking and mental efforts meet with much more success than either Norman’s or the 9th Duke’s.  Bon appetit!

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