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June 27, 2011

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Oh, I do love this word. It sounds like a contraption invented by an evil twin of Dr. Seuss.

Another use is in Gene Wolfe's The Shadow of the Torturer. It is a book that will stretch your concept of English. One of my favorite words from the book is "fuligin," defined as the color darker than black.

I'm actually surprised the use of oubliette as a dungeon wasn't coined in the Labyrinth script and that you can use it as a real word. It sounded like such an idea out of fantasy. "It's where you put people to forget about 'em!"

I first encountered this word in, of all places, a TV cartoon for tweens. On an episode of W.I.T.C.H., a character was thrown in the dungeon, and the guard said "see how you like the oubliette!" I had to rush to the dictionary. Who says that cartoons aren't educational?

There's a street in Windsor, Ontario called Ouillette, which a group of friends and I used to delight in calling "Oubliette." Callow youths. Snicker.

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