Okay, I do already know what this word means. But that's not without getting it wrong in the first place. I was talking with some friends at work today. One said that when she read the galley for Angels of Destruction, the new novel by Keith Donahue, she found herself having to look up about two words per page. A couple of us asked, give us an example. 'Gravid' was the one she came up with. She asked, "Do you know it?" I guessed "Stagnant?"
I guessed wrong.
'Gravid' means 'pregnant.'
So the other friend asked, does that mean that we can say, "She is gravid?"
I'm guessing it does mean that, but that it has passed out of common usage. This is the point I will now explore.
I am still not sure why 'gravid' seems to have passed out of the common parlance as regards to human pregnancy. It does have its origins in the Latin "gravis" or heavy, and so means 'heavy with child', or in the last stages of pregnancy. But the examples I see of its use have little to do with women being pregnant at this point, or at least not until their pregnancy has been rendered either biological or medical. Many other species are cited as gravid with eggs or young, but it does begin to seem like a word that's being used to make pregnancy and birth, i.e., the bearing and delivery of new life into something very scientific and amenable to study.
Oh, I can'' wait to ask some friend who is showing, "Oh, how gravid are you?" I'm sure that will meet with a polite reply.
Keith Donohue, you are on my list. I read The Stolen Child and loved the premise and the writing, but it didn't totally fulfill its potential for me. But I'm sure that I missed much of the word play. I always do. I'll have to look at the new one more consciously.
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