Two Words: Deliquesce & Discertain

Deliquesce and Discertain

Any fan of Dean Koontz, might look at this picture and say something like:

“As she stood there thinking about her existence, she became more and more discertain as the people around her began to deliquesce.” 

While this has a good feel to it and a nice little story, only the word “deliquesce” is a real word.  “Discertain” is not a word, but it sounds good enough to be real when used in this context.

We heard a news commentator use “discertain” the other day when he meant to say “uncertain.”  Of course, being from an IV League University we thought he might correct himself, but no luck.  The context was sports, and his statement was something like: “The Cowboys are more discertain about the rest of the season after their last loss.”  It just makes you cringe when you hear this. and realize that these are “educated,” highly paid, commentators who cannot construct a sentence.

As George W. Bush would say, “If you think I am going to retract my statement you misunderestimate me!”

Authors have favorite words and deliquesce comes in out of the blue in several Dean Koontz novels.  If “deliquesce” is the real word in this pair, what does it mean?  Deliquesce is one of those great words that once you know what it means it becomes burned in your memory and you can drop it into a sentence to show off to your friends.

The definition of deliquesce is to liquify, and in the Koontz vernacular he uses it to describe when a person or thing begins to disappear or fade from view.  Deliquesce is a verb and Webster’s also gives the description of something absorbing moisture from the air and becoming liquid from the process.  The adjective form of the word is deliquescent.

“When the sun warms the ground snowflakes instantly deliquesce as they land.”

“As I heated the pan the butter began to deliquesce into a liquid and was easily blended into the other ingredients.”

“He walked away into the fog and from my vantage point he began to deliquesce and fade from view.”

Another great word in our vocabulary, thanks to Dean Koontz novels.