Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday's Word

Tumult / TOO-mult; TYOO-mult / noun
1. The commotion or agitation of a crowd, usually accompanied with great noise, uproar, and confusion of voices; hurly-burly; noisy confusion.
2. Violent commotion or agitation, with confusion of sounds; as, "the tumult of the elements."
3. Irregular or confused motions; agitation; high excitement; as, "the tumult of the spirits or passions."
-- tumultuous / adjective

Just imagine, reader, a reduction of the centuries and a parade of all of them, all races, all passions, the tumult of empires, the war of appetites and hates, the reciprocal destruction of creatures and things.
-- Joaquim Maria Machado De Assis, The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas (translated by Gregory Rabassa)

The Irish Sea has been polluted, the aeroplanes roar above our heads, preparing for the next war; but this is the work of man. Seeing the dew in the morning and the beauty of the sea at sunset; listening to the silence after the aeroplanes have ceased their tumult, I have just as good a right to my faith as he has to his atheism.
-- R.S. Thomas, quoted in "In pursuit of the Deus absconditus:, Irish Times, July 5, 1997

Roger W. Ferguson Jr. was not a kid prone to the irrational exuberance of youth. He first aspired to being a Federal Reserve governor when he was in high school. 'I spent most of my time studying', said Ferguson, who grew up in Washington amid the tumult and giddiness of the 1960s.
-- "Spotlight Turns to Fed Nominee", Washington Post, August 14, 1999

A long Tumult of Passions which naturally rise in a Lover's Heart.
-- Joseph Addison, Spectator No. 164, 1711.

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