Friday, October 19, 2012


Sometime early Thursday morning, my brain invented a new word.

I was having one of those dreams that occurs just at the fringe of wakefulness, when my mind seems particularly unhinged but I am still able to recall what happened with a large amount of clarity.

In this dream, I was observing what looked like a dungeon or underground laboratory, and there was a living.. something... on a slab. It was restrained, and some kind of chemical was being pumped into it, and as I watched the flesh of the thing changed from a healthy pink to a sickly gray. I knew it was dying.

Superimposed over all of this, in some manner of Gothic font, was this word:  

It was evident that this scene was supposed to be illustrating the definition of the word.

(Incidentally, this dream also answered a question I've had since watching an old episode of Batman: the Animated Series, which is "Can you read inside of a dream?"  Clearly the answer is yes. Myth busted!)

So as I watched the thing on the table expire, I began to understand what dalqué meant. Based on the name and the surroundings, I got the impression that I was watching something being embalmed alive, and that I was in a place suggestive of the Spanish Inquisition.  Clearly, Doctor Dalqué was a mortician who subdued his victims (perhaps with drugs), took them back to his workshop of horrors, chained them up and watched them struggle as they slowly died from the embalming process. It felt very 19th century, very Edgar Allen Poe-ish.

Therefore, dalqué represents a creeping, paralytic fear, usually with some kind of body horror attached to it. Specifically, it is the fear you feel when you know something bad is going to happen to you (or a loved one), and the anticipation of that horror makes the fear that much worse.

Good example: Sitting in a dentist's chair, waiting for a root canal.
Better example: Waiting for the surgeon to tell you if your child survived.
Archetypal example: "You have cancer."
Dalqué is a noun that can be used as an adjective. Therefore you can say "I was consumed with dalqué " or "A dalqué feeling consumed me."

So now you have a new word to use this Halloween.

(The Google says that Dalqué is also the name of a Code Geass character. This is amusing because I've never played the game, nor do I know anything about it. I truly have no idea from whence my brain derived this word.)


  1. Cool word and dream!  How is it pronounced - dal-KAY?

  2. I will begin to use this word as appropriate.  The creation of new words is one of the purposes of the internet, right?

  3. Sadly, my dream didn't say it out loud. I've been pronouncing it with a Spanish accent, so it sounds more like DAL-kay. 

  4. Oh my God, that's awesome. This is one of those moments when I can't believe that nobody came up with this before. Is an butchered (Americanized) pronunciation allowed? It sounds Lovecraftian to me if I pronounce it "DALK" with one syllable.

  5. I figured a butchered pronunciation was inevitable. ;)  Just do me a favor and don't turn into into "Dawk", okay?

  6. "Dal-KAY" has a very French, smarmy evilness sound to it.

  7. You're right, it does!
    Hmm. Dalque is just one of those words which sounds better when pronounced with a foreign accent. I don't think it particularly matters what *kind* of accent, so long as it sounds exotic. 

  8. I still think of Dal-esque when I see this. That is, something that is in the manner of a Dalek.

  9. Good point, and I cede to your wisdom.  Although having just now read yours below about the accent not mattering, sadly, I now have a Tina Turner-like figurine in my brain warbling like Lotte Lenya:  "I'm your Dalque, danke . . ."

    Oh, the humanity!


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