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On the Road Again: Wondrous Words Wednesday

My words for Wondrous Words Wednesday come from On the Road again this week.  And once again when I tried to look up one of words that was new to me, I couldn't find it in the dictionary. Perhaps it was slang back in the day but my hunch is Kerouac created the word to convey exactly what he meant.
To play along visit Kathy at BermudaOnion.net and post words new to you in your reading.

Scrubbled:  "Reopen no old wounds, be as if you had never returned and looked in to me - to see my laboring humilities, my few scrubbled pennies - hungry to grab, quick to deprive, sullen, unloved, mean minded son of my flesh."  
Btw, that's Sal raving on the street, hungry and delirious, after Mary Lou ditches him in San Francisco.
I couldn't find scrubbled in the dictionary but context says they were hard earned, almost as if they were dug up from filthy streets. Any other ideas?

Esculence: "There were seafood places out there where the buns were hot, and the baskets were good enough to eat too; where the menus themselves were soft with foody esculence as though dipped in hot broths and roasted dry and good enough to eat too."
Actually, esculence is not really a word. The word is esculent and it means suitable for use as a food, edible. Kerouac made it into a noun;  I think I am correct in saying that the menus are in fact, soft with foody foodiness!

Ah, that Kerouac. By the way, there's an indie film coming soon based on his book Big Sur, the semi autobiographical story of Kerouac's retreat into alchoholism after On the Road was published.  Josh Lucas, Kate Bosworth star with Jean-Marc Barr as Kerouac. Here's the trailer for the movie's debut at Sundance.  Pretentious or moody and glorious?


  1. Scrubbled does sound like it means hard earned to me as well. I really like the sound of it so I wish I knew for sure!

  2. the words are new to me though, like you said, they sound exactly as they mean. I should pick up these books and read, 'On the road' and 'Big Sur', as I am in the San Francisco Bay Area:)

  3. Great words, especially as examples of "poetic" or artistic license. Thanks Sim. And BTW, what did you think of The Hobbit?

  4. I recently listened to the audiobook of On the Road. I particulary remember tha scene where Sal is lamenting his bad luck on the streets of San Francisco. I don't remember the use of scrubbled. It must have just fit into the context of what he was saying. I'll agree with you - I think he made the word up.

  5. Excellent words today; not sure about scrubbled, but it does sound as if they were hard to come by.

  6. I will think of scrubbled, next time I look at my paycheck and think of your definition.

    I like that he "made up" words when there were not any that properly illustrated his point. I often just give up.

  7. Hi Sim,

    Kerouac's books come so highly recommended by everyone, that I really ought to try one, so thanks for the prompt.

    I think that I would get very annoyed with 'made up' words though. There are already so many slang and often downright disgusting words, making it into the dictionary these days, that having a few more, as yet unrecognised, improvised words, just isn't necessary. There must surely have been existing words to adequately describe the events he was writing about!

    I did come across a product called 'Scrubble' on Amazon, which referred to an exfoliating scrub wash, so I guess the connection with dirt on the streets, is quite a valid one.

    Thanks for sharing, this was certainly an interesting post.



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