Word of the Day Archive
Monday October 4, 2010
1. A frenzy of emotion, as for something unattainable.
2. An ecstasy supposed by the ancients to be inspired by nymphs.
Yes, downhill in a kind of hectic nympholepsy, the grass snapping at our ankles, the clouds deafening us and the distant cathedral spire swimming up as if to impale us.
-- Lawrence Durrell, The Black Book
As the wayworn traveler who on some bright day sat down by the fringed bank of clear fountain or silver lake, and while he leant to look into its waters, was suddenly dazzled into madness by the flashing upward upon him, from the unknown depths, of some startling image, so Bruce, as he rested by the dusty wayside of life, and gazed into the dark abysses of recollection, was startled and horrified, with a more fearful nympholepsy, by the crowding images and sullen glare of unforgotten and half forgotten sins.
-- Frederic William Farrar, Julian Home: a tale of college life
Nympholepsy stems from the Greeknympholeptos, "caught by nymphs."