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puissance

Having now finished Lord Valentine’s Castle, I’m now, of course, working on Fatal Revenant … although I’ve also read just re-read The Runes of the Earth. One of the things Stephen Donaldson is famous for is his vocabulary, so I’ve been taking notes from both the first two books of The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant of all the various recondite lexemes he uses. Some of these now follow.

The words ‘puissant’ and ‘puissance’ are especially characteristic of the Last Chronicles, and are generally used as synonyms for ‘magically powerful’ or ‘magic’. David Langford joked in Ansible that on careful analysis of the text of Runes he had concluded that book two would be entitled The Eldritch Puissance of Formication.

SYLLABICATION: puis·sance

PRONUNCIATION: pwĭs’əns, pyōō’ĭ-səns, pyōō-ĭs’əns

NOUN: Power; might. 

ETYMOLOGY: Middle English, from Old French, from poissant, powerful, present participle of pooir, to be able.

OTHER FORMS: puissant —ADJECTIVE
puissant·ly —ADVERB

Source: Bartelby.com.

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