Tuesday, August 03, 2010

word of the day: climacteric

context: “In the fall of 1996, while my fellow volunteers and I underwent our Peace Corps training, Uzbekistan was suffering its largest agricultural shortfall in history. I knew nothing of this. Nor did I know about the potentially climacteric deals with Western companies such as McDonald’s melting into air because of the Uzbek government’s devotion to nativistic, strong-arm economics.”

Tom Bissell is saying that, even if you were inside Uzbekistan, it was hard to know much about it.

definition: “any critical period”
source: dictionary.com

So those “climacteric deals with … McDonald’s” were crititcally timed deals? The opportunity not grasped at once was lost? … McDonald’s? Yeah. Won’t see its like again.

The “critical period” definition seemed most apropos. However, the main definition seems to be: menopause …

source of quote: Chasing the Sea: lost among the ghosts of empire in Central Asia, by Tom Bissell


Dave King said...

I seem to remember that when I was very ill as a small boy the doctor said I was in a climacteric 48 hours.

Kathy B. said...

I think you are going to love One Word: Contemporary Writers on Words the Love or Loathe, edited by Molly McQuade, due out this fall from Sarabande Books.