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  1. Senior Member
    Interested in Language
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      • Native Language:
      • Czech
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      • Czech Republic
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      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2014
    • Posts: 836



    Can anybody tell me in what sense the word circumambulations which I have found to mean travel or move around something or the act of moving around an idol or a secret object in a temple is used here?

    As we gazed at them like this from afar they seemed to be in number, as I remember, about nine, but they were by no means all of a size. For one or two of the rotundas were smaller in compass than the others, just as there may be big snails or mushrooms in a family, and little ones.
    But any object on earth of a majesty or magnitude that recalls the pyramids is a formidable spectacle. And not a word passed between us, scarcely a glance, as with extreme caution and circumspection we approached—creeping human pace by pace—to view them nearer.
    A fit of shivering came over me, I recollect, as thus advantaged I scanned their enormous sides, shaggy with tufts of a monstrous moss and scarred with yard-wide circumambulations of lichen. Gigantic grasses stooped their fatted seedpods from the least rough ledge. They might be walls of ice, so cold their aspect; or of a matter discoverable only in an alien planet.

    Walter de la Mare, The Tree, 1923

    Thank you very much.
    Not a Teacher

  2. BobK's Avatar
    Harmless drudge
    English Teacher
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      • Native Language:
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      • UK
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    • Join Date: Jul 2006
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    Re: Circumambulations

    I can't think what can have possessed him to use that word. You have the word's meaning right.

    Lichen doesn't walk. I suppose he might have had in mind the figurative use of creep - as lichen, spreading slowly, can be said to "creep".

    Twitter: @BobK99


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