Sunday, July 9, 2017

Whaleology with tact

New York Observer - November 20, 1851
The Whale, by Herman Melville, is a beautiful book, just out of the press of the Harpers, a complete exhibition of the art and mystery of whaleology, with graphic pictures of the life and times of whalemen, in which the peculiar tact of Melville appears on every page.
--New York Observer, November 20, 1851

Nowadays tact generally implies "avoiding offense," but in Melville's time the word conveyed the senses of touch, feeling, and

"Peculiar skill or faculty; nice perception or discernment."
--Webster's 1848 American Dictionary of the English Language

1 comment:

  1. The Oxford English Dictionary says:

    No dictionary entries found for ‘whaleology’.

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