Monday, 19 May 2014

Clairaudience - Super-Hearing

The BFG holding Sophie, a little girl, in the palm of his hand
Roald Dahl's utterly enchanting Big Friendly Giant


Noun. Mid-19th century.
[from French clair clear + AUDIENCE, after CLAIRVOYANCE.]

The supposed faculty of perceiving, as if by hearing, what is inaudible.

clairaudient adj. & noun (a) adj. having the faculty of clairaudience; of the nature of or pertaining to clairaudience; (b) noun a clairaudient person. M19

One of the oft forgotten talents of the BFG is his superhearing, or clairaudience, although Roald Dahl doesn't call it as such in his enchanting book, and as this ability stems from his superlarge ears, it might not even be a supernatural ability at all. Still, the BFG's aural acuity is so keen that he can hear music from far away stars, the screams of flowers as they're picked, the clumpety-clump-clump of ladybirds walking across leaves, and even the chatter of tiny spiders, who the BFG describes as 'the most tremendous natterboxes'. And as for their singing, which a spider always does when spinning its web, the BFG says its singing is 'sweeter than a nightingull', which, considering that the BFG is privy to 'all the secret whisperings of the world', must be very, very sweet indeed.

Are you clairaudient?

Would you like to possess clairaudience?

Do let us hear your most softly typed comments below.  


  1. You don't need clairaudience to hear nightingulls. Being close to the coast and with our new ultrabright streetlights,they screech around all night and raid the rubbish (trash) bins for food scraps. Now, a nightingale is a much sweeter sounding and friendlier bird.

    I'm told that the latest digital hearing aids are very clairaudient. Some users quickly revert to the quieter world of the partially deaf as the racket of buzzing flies, clicking false teeth and falling meteoric dust, is too much to bear.

    1. Bats must be the champions of clairaudience, and what they do is dislocate their ear bones so they only hear the echoes of their screams, and not the screams themselves. Neat.

    2. The problem with the digital hearing aids sounds unbearable. However, the falling of meteoric dust? I assume you're using hyperbole and no hearing aid is that sensitive. Is it??

      As for bats, they rock. They ... just ... rock.

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