Archive for the 'Wondrous Words' Category

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Happy Wednesday — it’s been a long time since I had some words to share with you! 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 Robert Plant: A Life. The book is really terrific so far, and it is definitely bringing back some memories…or maybe fantasies is a more accurate word. Check back next week for my review.

1. Winklepicker: a shoe with a long pointed toe, popular in the 1950s.

“I was just mincing about with my Dawes Double Blue bike, with my winklepicker shoes in the saddlebag, listening to all this stuff.”

2. Obdurate: stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion or course of action.

“Straight-talking and obdurate, Graham was instrumental in revolutionizing the rock-concert business in the US…”

This is a word I know I’ve hear before, but in this context, I couldn’t come up with a meaning for it.

 

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Happy Wednesday — it’s been a long time since I had some words to share with you! 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 Jungleland: A Mysterious Lost City, a WWII Spy, and a True Story of Deadly Adventure by Christopher S. Stewart. This is one of those interesting books that comes in, gets passed over, and then ends up on the bottom of the pile. It’s too bad because it’s a good read – check back next Thursday for my review.

1. Cordilleras - a system or group of parallel mountain ranges together with the intervening plateaus and other features

“It is a place of savannas, rolling hills, cordilleras, and many, many swamps.”

2. Littoral - a region lying along a shore

“The world of ours has been pretty well explored since the days when map makers could show only the Mediterranean littoral and filled in the rest of their maps with pictures of sea monsters.”

3. Cacique – a native chief or local political boss

“”Earlier in the afternoon, we had made a quick visit to an old Indian cacique whom Chris had known for many years.”

I thought this one was really odd – Cacique is also a brand of lingerie!

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

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 Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household by Kate Hubbard, a really interesting book about the men and women who served Queen Victoria. I set this aside for a while and now I am deeply engrossed again.

1. Caparisoned - (of a horse)  decked out in rich decorative coverings.

“…twelve ‘Wouwerman-like fat, jumping horses, very much caparisoned.”

2. Charabancs – an early form of bus, used typically for pleasure trips

“Guests were transported to the Foret d’Eu in the hideously uncomfortable charabancs.”

3. Shiels – stone huts

4. Gillies -  a man or boy who attends someone on a hunting or fishing expedition

“In pursuit of further seclusion, a couple of shiels (stone huts used by the gillies) at Allt-na-Guibhsauch, some five miles away from the castle, had been turned into a retreat.”

5. Sepoy - an Indian soldier serving under British or other European orders.

“…cartridges for the new Enfield rifles, which the sepoys were required to bite, had been greased with both cow and pig fat, this offending both the Hindus and Muslims.”

 

 

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

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 Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household by Kate Hubbard, a really interesting book about the men and women who served Queen Victoria. I am learning a lot about life in the royal household – not all of it good!

1. Prinked – dressed or groomed with elaborate care and vanity

“She judged the prinked and preening Leopold, King of the Belgians, ‘a very majestic personage.’”

2. Battledore - A game played with a shuttlecock and rackets; a forerunner of badminton

“The Queen took immediately to her new lady-in-waiting, finding her a most ‘amiable person’, happy to indulge her in a game of battledore and shuttlecock in the Corridor.”

3. Pelisse - A long cloak or outer robe, usually of fur or with a fur lining

“She was dressed in a plain white muslin pelisse and a ‘droll little Quaker shaped straw bonnet…”

4. Calomel - a white, tasteless powder used chiefly as a purgative and fungicide

“Dr Clark has mismanaged the child and poisoned her with calomel and you have starved her.”

Historic novels, whether fiction or non-fiction, are great sources for new words, so I expect more from this one next week!

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

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 an online magazine called Death and Taxes. They put together a list of 18 Obsolete Words that Should Never Have Gone Out of Style. There are some great words on that list – you should read the whole list – and here are my favorites:

Spermologer: A picker-up of trivia, of current news, a gossip monger, what we would today call a columnist — “The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten” by Jeffrey Kacirk

Resistentialism: The seemingly spiteful behavior shown by inanimate objects —www.ObsoleteWord.Blogspot.com

Wonder-wench: A sweetheart — “The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten” by Jeffrey Kacirk

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

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 all over! The first one is from an article in The Atlantic about convenience foods. Others are from my current read, Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd. It has taken me a couple of weeks to get through this, which isn’t a good sign. Hopefully, I’ll get drawn in soon.

1. Commensality - Fellowship at table; the act or practice of eating at the same table.

“Americans cling to the ideal of family commensality as an elixir for personal and societal ills (e.g., children’s vulnerability to drugs, smoking, and obesity) and as de rigueur for kindling children’s school success.”

2. Parterre - A level space in a yard occupied by an ornamental arrangement of flower beds

“He could walk the graveled, weedy paths of the neglected parterre whenever he felt like fresh air or needed exercise.”

3. Calabashes – gourds

“It was full of artefacts from  Hamo’s trips to west and central Africa – sculptures, pottery, calabashes, animal hides on the door.”

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

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 Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd.

1. Architraves - The molded frame around a doorway or window.

“…the slanting sunrays picking out the details on the grand, solid buildings, casting sharp, dark shadows on the caryatids and the friezes, the pediments and the cornices, the balusters and the architraves.

2. Capuziner - Cappuccino, from a name for the Capuchin monks the drink is named for.

“When [the brandy] arrived, he tipped it in his capuziner and took out Blanche’s letter.”

3. Frowsty – Stale and unclean smelling

“He remembered the small frowsty room in Dover Street, the one gas lamp, cleanish sheets on the narrow bed.”

What new words did you learn this week?

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

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 An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris by Stephanie la Cava. My Teaser yesterday was about sailing miniature ships in the bidet (everyone knows what a bidet is, right?). These are some of the words I wasn’t so familiar with — the nice thing is that most of them are well-defined in the text:

1. Aposematic – Coloration or markings that serve to repel or warn predators

Poison arrow tree frogs’ colorful skins are the furthest adaptation from camouflage, rather aposematic markings signaling to predators that the paper clip-sized creatures can kill.

2. Tapirage – a method of changing color

“Legend says that certain indigenous tribes would rub a variety of the poison on the skins of young parrots to make their feathers fill out in different colors, a process called tapirage.”

3. Busk - A stay or stiffening strip for a corset

“Perhaps the most coveted work was a busk, a gift for a love waiting patiently at home, made of a slab of bone that would be used as a stay in corsets.

4. Entheogens - A psychoactive substance used for the purpose of inducing a mystical or spiritual experience.

“In later years Wasson, who detested the word hallucinogens, preferred to use the word entheogens instead, which means ‘god within’.”

5. Sumptuary Laws - Laws made for the purpose of restraining luxury or extravagance, particularly against inordinate expenditures in the matter of apparel, food, furniture, etc. Traditionally, they were laws that regulated and reinforced social hierarchies and morals through restrictions on clothing, food, and luxury expenditures.

“The gems were rare in Egyptian jewelry, and is said that Julius Caesar tried to create sumptuary laws that restricted the wearing of pearls to only Rome.”

And here’s a word I came across online that I love! And, in fact, it’s an excellent description of my reading habits:

6. Librocubicularist - A person who reads in bed

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

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 is the final batch of words from Something Red. Starting next week, I hope to have some new words from some new books.

1. Watchet - a light blue color

“Over hose of green went an overshirt of watchet-colored wool; to Hob’s delight, there was a leather belt dyed a rich blue, with a gilt buckle.”

2. Caitiff – wretched, cowardly

“Nay,  brother, I flee this field of battle; I confess myself a caitiff knight; you must fight yourself free of these ferocious women.”

3. Smaragds – emeralds

“On her wrist, all bone and dry loose white skin, was a silver bracelet studded with smaragds, glints of green in the light from the fireplace.”

4. Mortrews – Leftover foods, especially  meats ground in a mortar and re-served

“In addition, there was a nearly untouched dish of salt-cod mortrewsthe fish pounded, mixed with stock and eggs and crumbled bread, and the resulting dumpling poached.

5. Camlet - A rich cloth of Asian origin, supposed originally to have been made of camel’s hair and silk and later made of goat’s hair and silk or other combinations.

“…the tall esquire turned and went into the passageway to the kitchen, returning at once with a camlet cloak that they had brought down with them from their quarters.”

6. Cramoisy - Crimson

7. Perse - Dark grayish blue or purple

“He asked at one point, as he stood there with overgowns of different colors, cramoisy in one hand and perse in the other.”

8. Spalpeen - a rascal or layabout

“This drink, this singing, is that which Herself had from the Great Queen; whatever that smiling spalpeen may have used, it was not this drink, nor this singing.”

 

Wondrous words Wednesday

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

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,I’ve got more words from Something Red by Douglas Nicholas. Like I said last week, medieval novels always give you some great choices:

1. Virgate - A varying measure of land, typically 30 acres

“Osbert’s grandafther, Forwin atte Well, had been a prosperous householder — Osbert still had his tunic, dyed a forest green and trimmed with squirrel –farming his three virgates of land…”

2. Housecarl – A member of the body-guard of a Danish or English king or noble.

“In keeping the peace in his house he was aided by three stalwart and jovial sons and a few housecarls.

3. Traneen - chiefly Irish. : something of little or no value, a trifle

“She looked away and spoke towards the fire. ‘It’s not that I care a traneen, mind.’”

4. Reeve - The president of a village or town council.

“His wealth and influence in the region were such that no reeve molestd him, and though the village priest was known to grumble bitterly, nothing more than that came of it.”

5. Selions - a mediaeval open strip of land or small field used for growing crops, usually owned by or rented to peasants

“The fields were divided among villagers, so that they looked like the blankets sewed from scraps by the grandmams in Hob’s old village: square furlongs and long, narrow selions all set this way and that to follow the runoff of rainwater.”

6. Falchion - A broad, slightly curved sword with the cutting edge on the convex side

“He ran at the outlaw, who bore a short heavy falchion and a targe much like Jack’s own, but without a spike.”

7. Murrey - The deep purple-red color of a mulberry.

“Fastened to his surcoat was a brooch worn as a badge: a silver disk inlaid with murrey-colored enamel, against which the white fountain of Blanchefontaine stood out, rendered in raised silver.”

You don’t need to hear anything but these words to know when this story takes place, do you?