I couldn't find the meaning of transpierceable in the sentence below from The Magus (1965) by John Fowles.

My father hadn’t kept Financial Prudence among his armoury of essential words; he ran a ridiculously large account at Ladbroke's and his mess bills always reached staggering proportions, because he liked to be popular and in place of charm had to dispense alcohol. What remained of his money when the lawyers and taxmen had had their cuts yielded not nearly enough for me to live on. But every kind of job I looked at—the Foreign Service, the Civil, the Colonial, the banks, commerce, advertising—was transpierceable at a glance.

closed as off-topic by Hot Licks, Canis Lupus, Cascabel, Drew, Laurel May 20 '17 at 0:07

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  • It looks made up, which is perfectly okay, if the reader can deduce its meaning from the context. You haven't provided enough context to do that, though. – Canis Lupus May 19 '17 at 21:52
  • 1
    You apparently didn't look up "transpierce". – Hot Licks May 19 '17 at 21:52
  • @CanisLupus - Nor did you. – Hot Licks May 19 '17 at 21:52
  • Six different dictionaries define the word. – Hot Licks May 19 '17 at 21:53
  • @HotLicks You got me! Now I vote to close, for failure to show research and to hide my shame, but mostly for failure to show research. – Canis Lupus May 19 '17 at 22:05

Given the definition of transpierce (included here for easy reference):




Pierce through (someone or something)
‘with a shower of arrowy death-pangs he transpierced me’

I suspect what the author meant was that every kind of job I looked at was superficial and easily seen through at a glance. In other words, they simply didn't interest him because they were too easy or boring.


Fowles shows how the character apparently always tries to infer something from his observations that might be hidden to most, and uses similar adjectives to describe this. The previous paragraph introduces this attitude:

I acquired expensive habits and affected manners. I got a third-class degree and a first-class illusion that I was a poet. But nothing could have been less poetic than my pseudo-aristocratic, seeingthrough-all boredom with life in general and with making a living in particular. I was too green to know that all cynicism masks a failure to cope—an impotence, in short; and that to despise all effort is the greatest effort of all.

You can read more at you-books.com.


transpierce verb (used with object), transpierced, transpiercing. 1. to pierce through; penetrate; pass through. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/transpierce

To this word Fowles merely added the suffix -able, meaning "able", so his word means that the kind of jobs he was looking at were able to be pierced through at a glance. It seems to me this is just a fancy way of him saying "able to be scratched off the list" - based on the longer text provided in the comments it seems he's saying he needed money, but every kind of job he looked at he was mentally scratching off immediately. He did go ahead and make some half-hearted attempts and even set up some interviews, but his lack of enthusiasm for those positions was evident and he wasn't hired.

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