I was in one of my weekly sessions of English conversation practice with a student of mine who is a surgeon, and he was telling me about another expat English teacher who had just been in the ER with a broken kneecap after a motorcycle accident. Trying to describe the seriousness of the fracture, he said he was not sure of the correct English word, but he believed it was something close to comminuted. Not being familiar with that word, I looked it up in the dictionary on my Kindle and found that, yes, it was the correct word (meaning “pulverized, broken into many small fragments”).
Just minutes later I had a short break between classes and decided to do a little reading. I picked up that same Kindle and opened up the book I am currently reading (William James’s Essays in Radical Empiricism) — and in perhaps the third or fourth paragraph I read, I found this:
In these respects the pure experiences of our philosophy are, in themselves considered, so many little absolutes, the philosophy of pure experience being only a more comminuted Identitätsphilosophie.
I was not aware that I had ever encountered that particular word before — though I have, it turns out, at least twice; a search of my Kindle reveals that it occurs once each in Bacon’s Novum Organum and H. S. Maine’s Popular Government, and of course I have no way of knowing how often I may have run across it in my on-paper reading without noticing it. However, I think I can reasonably assume that comminuted crosses my path certainly no more than once or twice a year, so meeting it twice in a matter of minutes was quite a coincidence.