Is "inspissated" used to simply emphasize the unhappiness/darkness? Is it used in literary contexts only? All the examples I have seen are either Biblical or literary.


thickened in consistency; broadly : made or having become thick, heavy, or intense

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    What research have you done? What do you understand "Inspissate" to mean? – Catija Jul 26 '16 at 16:28
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    Can you provide the context where you have seen this word used? I have never heard of it or run across it in all my biblical or literary perusals. – Hellion Jul 26 '16 at 16:37
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    It's not my job to ask your question. You're asking about a very unusual word, it might be worth it to give us some sort of explanation. – Catija Jul 26 '16 at 16:54
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    It would be a good idea to edit your question and add that link, and to quote some notable examples. That way, people do not have to ask for clarification in comments. The more information you give in your question, the better the answers will be. – oerkelens Jul 26 '16 at 17:20
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    Questions which lack results of research are out of scope. For an introduction to the site, take the Tour. For help writing a good question, see How to Ask. – MetaEd Jul 26 '16 at 18:12

It is not a common word in any register. In Goodbye to All That Robert Graves tells a story about T.E.Lawrence which illustrates this point:

Professor Edgeworth, of All Souls’, avoided conversational English, persistently using words and phrases that one expects to meet only in books. One evening, Lawrence returned from a visit to London, and Edgeworth met him at the gate. 'Was it very caliginous in the Metropolis?'
  'Somewhat caliginous, but not altogether inspissated', Lawrence replied gravely.

I am pretty widely read, and I have never encountered the word outside this context.

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  • Seems like a term that'd be useful in cooking: "Your sauce is a little thin, you need to inspissate it a bit more" – Jim Jul 26 '16 at 16:51
  • I sometimes offer to inspissate the soup. – Spehro Pefhany Jul 27 '16 at 1:32
  • @Spehro I hope you're doing it with cornstarch or flour, or by reduction. – StoneyB on hiatus Jul 27 '16 at 1:41
  • @StoneyB, I like to inspissate the soup via a process of micturition. – dangph Jul 27 '16 at 4:53
  • @dangph That's what I was afraid of. I suspect it's also contributed to the rarity of inspissated. – StoneyB on hiatus Jul 27 '16 at 10:53

Inspissated is not only literary, it's actually a medical term as a dictionary tells you MW.

Medical Definition of inspissated : thick or thickened in consistency "blocked with inspissated bile" "the inspissated juices of an aloe"

However, connected with gloom it seems to be very rare and as you already discovered mainly in description of literary characters and literary scenarios.

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thickened or dried by evaporation

Example of usage

The poison is obtained by boiling the root in water, until it attains the consistency of an inspissated juice.

  • Narrative Of Capt James Cook Voyages Around the World

Inspissated gloom

This text was taken from Eurekas and Euphorias: The Oxford book of Scientific Anecdotes, and gives a very nice usage of the poetic sense.

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Almost all usages I found were at least 100 to 150 years old.

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  • upvote because yours is the only answer that even mentions gloom in an actual instance – user180089 Jul 27 '16 at 17:22

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