Wondrous Words Wednesday

Happy Wednesday! I have some great words this week – most of them about books and printing. I’m currently reading Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein, a murder mystery involving the New York Public Library. I’m learning lots of interesting things about the library and about collecting books and maps

The first word on the list is from an email I received (about a book) and the rest are from Lethal Legacy.

1. Jeremiad – “The book is no jeremiad.”

A long and mournful complaint.

2. Primogeniture – “You know about primogeniture, of course. He was the third son of a third son and so on.”

The system of inheritance or succession by the firstborn, specifically the eldest son. This was the definition I was familiar with, but it also means the state of being the first son.

3. Incunabula – “There were early English Bibles and Shakespeare Folios, incredibly fine incunabula -“

A book printed before 1501; an artifact of an early period.

4. Rhumb lines – “Meticulous engravings they were – all about navigation – so soundings and rhumb lines and the markings for every little coastal port were of major importance.”

In navigation, a rhumb line (or loxodrome) is a line crossing all meridians at the same angle, i.e. a path of constant bearing. You can find more on this at Wikipedia: charts and mathematical derivations and so forth.

5. Elephant folio – “What’s an elephant folio?” Mike asked.

A very large folio; an American book size with a height measurement between 24 and 25 in. (61 and 63.5 cm).

Books, maps and navigation – all sorts of interesting new words! What words made you smarter this week? Check out some of the other interesting word posts over at Bermudaonion’s Weblog.

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