Wondrous Words Wednesday

Happy Wednesday — it’s time for some new words! You know how this works – share a few words from your current book that you had to look up, then head over to Bermuda Onion’s Weblog to learn some new ones.

This week, my words are from Other People’s Money by Justin Cartwright. The book is about a bank failure and a family’s decline. The bank is located in England, which might explain some of the vocabulary.

1. Mistral – A strong, cold northwesterly wind that blows through the Rhône valley and southern France into the Mediterranean

“The almond blossom is out, the sea loses its darkness, the cold rains have mostly been swept mysteriously away, the mistral has cleared the skies and the geraniums are being planted out.”

2. Billy-o – very much, hard, strongly, etc: e.g., It’s raining like Billy-o

“…his old retainer Len at the wheel, his Lobb shoes (invisible but easily imagined) shining like billy-o, a man who was born to wealth.”

3. Boulevardier – wealthy, fashionable socialite

“Dax smells of cologne, like an old-fashioned boulevardier.

4. Protean – Able to do many different things; versatile

“As you know, he was a wonderful, protean character, brought up speaking Gaelic, as I said, and steeped in the romance of ancient legend…”

5. Extirpated – Root out and destroy completely

“Daniel is now to receive a couple of hairs from his scalded knuckle along with the wax, which has extirpated them.”

6. Gavotte – a French peasant dance of Baroque origin in moderately quick duple meter or the music for this dance

“Harry watches the doves, moving about in a stately pigeon gavotte.”

7. Pétanque – a French game similar to bowls

“He’s even the pétanque champion down at the port.”

What new words did YOU learn this week?

  8 comments for “Wondrous Words Wednesday

  1. January 4, 2012 at 11:17 am
  2. January 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I have this book on my shelf and your words remind me that I need to read it. Now I’ll be ahead of the word game.

  3. January 4, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I like Billy-O!

  4. January 4, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    I knew petanque – Carl played it some when we lived in France. I really like billy-o! Wasn’t there a book titled Mistral’s Daughter that was a bestseller years ago?

  5. Lisa
    January 4, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    I knew that a mistral was a wind, but I didn’t know exactly what sort of wind. One of the great thing about this meme is that it makes me think about details.

  6. January 4, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    I knew gavotte from some piano piece I learned as a child. I feel like I should have known protean, but if I did, then I didn’t have the meaning correct in my head. Interesting words!

  7. January 5, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Excellent words! Most were new-to-me. 🙂

  8. January 5, 2012 at 6:03 am

    I knew many of them today. I’ve played petanque and enjoyed it greatly. Gavotte was new for me.

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