Here are two words that I could tell the definition of by the context. But they are such cool words and used to describe Holmes’ nemesis. I had to share them with you. In The Valley of Fear, Holmes and Watson begin speaking of Professor Moriarty, and Holmes describes the Professor’s underworld genius in the quote below. The Valley of Fear is printed in my volume of The Greatest Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

Solatium – a thing given to someone as a compensation or consolation

Traduce – to slander


“But in calling Moriarty a criminal you are uttering libel in the eyes of the law – and there lies the glory and the wonder of it. The greatest schemer of all time, the organizer of every delivery, the controlling brain of the underworld, a brain which might have made or marred the destiny of nations – that’s the man! But so aloof is he from general suspicion – so immune from criticism – so admirable in his management and self-effacement, that for those very words that you have uttered he could hale you to a court and emerge with your year’s pension as a solatium for his wounded character. Is he not the celebrated author of The Dynamics of an Asteroid, a book which ascends to such rarefied heights of pure mathematics that it is said to traduce? Foul-mouthed doctor and slandered professor – such would be your respective rôles! That’s genius, Watson! But if I am spared by lesser men, our day will surely come.”

Sherlock Holmes, The Valley of Fear, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, circa 1914