Wednesday, 18 September 2013

"Wildlessly"?

"It was like a dream, he was carried wildlessly along between phantoms in black..."

- Poul Anderson, The Long Way Home (St Albans, Herts, 1975), p. 69.

I have commented several times on the need for a dictionary when reading Poul Anderson. Because of Anderson's rich and extensive vocabulary, I cannot be sure whether a word like "...wildlessly..." is a misprint - but, if so, for what? - or is just another unusual word.

I cannot find it in Chamber Dictionary. Googling has produced some instances of its use, including someone else querying whether it is a word, so I am not much wiser.

After further time with Chambers Dictionary: Alright, I have got it. "Wild" is an obsolete form of "wield". "Wieldless" means "unmanageable". Therefore, "wildlessly" could mean "unmanageably".

2 comments:

ndrosen said...

Could "wildlessly" be a misprint for "windlessly"?

Paul Shackley said...

Nicholas,
I think that the meaning I deduced makes sense.
Paul.