Word of the Day: Incunabula

Yesterday we learned about the poetic form, Clerihew . Today, I came across a new word while scanning through Marietta College’s Special Collections page. Today’s fun word to know and share is

Incunabula

From Dictionary.com:

in·cu·nab·u·la

[in-kyoo-nab-yuh-luh]
–plural noun, singular -lum  /-ləm/
1.    extant copies of books produced in the earliest stages (before 1501) of printing from movable type.
2.    the earliest stages or first traces of anything.

I encourage you to visit the Dictionary.com link and play the pronunciation. I guarantee you will walk around saying it today.

In Marietta’s case, they list three incunabula, with the earliest publication date being 1489. Two of the three are bibles, which appear to be in Latin. The third is an interesting entry which I don’t completely understand:



Author – Boethius, d. 524. Spurious and doubtful works.
Title – Spurious and doubtful works. De disciplina scolarium. Latin
De disciplina scolarium cum commento notabili.
Publisher -[Strassburg : Georg Husner] 1495? (MCCCCXV)




Any ideas what this book might be? It appears to me, anyways, to be a book published in 1495 refuting the authorship or authenticity of the earlier work, De Disciplina Scolarium. But what is the business in English about the “Spurious and doubtful works”? Ah well – in any case, I got to procrastinate in an academic way, play around with a few websites, and learn a new word today!

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