In his novel The Long Walk, Stephen King writes:

How must it have been, dry-humping that wane, willing flesh?

It seems to me that "wane" is being used as an adjective in this instance, however I haven't been able to find any Dictionary entries with senses of "wane" under an Adjective heading.

Is King using "wane" here as an adjective, and if so, or if not, what would it mean in this instance?

  • Appears to be a spelling mistake. And you're right: it has to be an adjective. As an aside, the use of comma (instead of a coordinating conjunction as one would normally use in such cases as wane,willing flesh) is prompted by the "urgency" of the scenario— warranting staccato writing. – user405662 Mar 31 at 5:19
  • @Edwin Ashworth: Interested to know what you make of the preference of King for comma over a coordinating conjunction here? Do I have it right? :) – user405662 Mar 31 at 15:43

Well, the OED has "wane" as an adjective considers it obsolete. Meanings are described as:

  1. Lacking, absent, deficient
  2. Destitute of.
  3. [...]
  4. Incomplete; not fully formed, or properly shaped. Of the moon: Not full [this might be to closest to familiar usage today, as in the verb "to wane"]
  5. Insufficient, (too) small.

When consulting google n-gram, we find that today wane as a verb is about 50 times as common as is wane as an adjective: google ngram for wane_ADJ vs wane_VERB

I am guessing your author is considering the flesh in question to be deficient, too easy and altogether not worthy.

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