disassembly_rsn: Run over by a UFO (Default)
taproot - the main root of a plant

tuck-and-roll - | | | | | (that kind of upholstery on car seats is called tuck-and-roll; didn't know the word for it)
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A 'miller' in this sense is a kind of moth with powdery-looking wings and body. (I wouldn't have used it in the phrase 'moths, millers, and gnats' myself because it's already covered by the mention of moths, but that's just me.)
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phthalo in this context - as a modifier for 'darkness', referring to the evening sky - appears to be short for 'phthalocyanine'. According to wikipedia, 'Phthalocyanine is an intensely blue-green coloured aromatic macrocyclic compound that is widely used in dyeing.' According to AHD, the word covers several blue or green organic compounds used in enamels, printing inks, linoleum, and plastics.

I admit to doubt as to whether the viewpoint character would know this word.
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No, I'm still reading The Silent Tower, not H. P. Lovecraft. The characters were surprised too.

(And yes, I've *encountered* the words before, or that last sentence wouldn't exist, but I realized I couldn't define them adequately, so here they are.)
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'Lour' is a variant of 'lower'. In this case, it was being used in the noun sense of 'a threatening or sullen look' or 'a dark and ominous look'. I wouldn't have applied it to summer *heat*, myself, although I can understand applying it to clouds during such weather. (Credit to The American Heritage Dictionary for explaining to me what it meant.)

'Like the man dreaming, who feels even in sleep the refreshing storm break the lour of summer heat...'
- chapter 1 of The Silent Tower by Barbara Hambly

As for 'ophidian', it means 'snakelike'. Nothing to do with obsidian at all.

(As for 'water strider', that's a kind of insect that appears to walk on water. Yes, they're the ones also known as 'Jesus bugs'. The chapter that uses this term is being told from the viewpoint of a character who has never heard of Christianity, hence the term being used.)
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mondegreen - a series of words that result from the mishearing or misinterpretation of a statement or song lyric. [The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition; word is derived from an example song lyric]

Examples
- 'rocky cocoa' for 'rococo' (see Thus Was Adonis Murdered by Sarah Caudwell)
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