Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Indie-rock Word of the Week: Oubliette

Part of speech: noun

What it means:
A secret dungeon with an opening only in the ceiling, as in certain old castles (

How Will Sheff of Okkervil River uses it in song:
"The Latest Toughs"

@ 2:25- "We have lost/ and if you’re crying to be tossed/ they’ll toss you down the oubliette/ with all the old things that you let yourself forget/ because you’d like to love a star/ who’d throw you down/ below the ground he thinks you are."
Why I like it:
  • In this anti-war song (are there any pro-war songs?) Sheff so casually uses this stellar word. In the same stanza, he also references one of his own songs, "Song About a Star."
  • It is a fun word to say.
  • With our vocabularies shrinking, perhaps for favoring speed over eloquence, it is good to see older words last. It also reminds me of another old-timey word - defenestrate.
  • In example: I either want to defenestrate that girl for wearing tights as pants, or, lock her up in the oubliette and make her listen to the new Handsome Furs until she realizes the error of her ways. Yes, the new Furs is that bad- it sounds as if they were locked in a dank old room with only a synthesizer and Billy Idol records.

No comments: