Greetings from the West Coast! Only a few more days in beautiful Montebello, California, then home for 3 days and off to a week of meetings in St. Paul, Minnesota. Luckily, I have managed to squeeze in a little time for some new words.
Words this week come from Population: 485 by Michael Perry. It’s a really interesting book about life in a small town, written by a volunteer firefighter and EMT who works with – and sometimes on – his neighbors. The book covers everything from firefighting to farming to philosophy, with lots of stops along the way. Here are some of the interesting words I came across:
1. “…the corner has been recut and reshaped, the roadbed raised and the camber adjusted.”
Camber: 1: a slight convexity (as of the surface of a road) 2: a slope in the turn of a road or track.
2. “The effect was riverine.”
Riverine: relating to or resembling a river.
3. “Your top-grade aphorist covers all angles.”
Aphorist: Okay, this is one of those words that you need a definition of the definition. An aphorist is someone who produces or collects aphorisms. Aphorisms are original thoughts, spoken or written in an easily memorable form.
And this quote is a fiver-fer!
4-8: “In its wake, we were left a raw, poetic topographhy of kettles and moraines, kames and eskers, and drumlins.
Kettle: Depression made by the wasting away of a detached piece of glacier ice.
Moraine: An accumulation of boulders, stones, or other debris carried and deposited by a glacier.
Kame: A round hill or short ridge of sand or gravel deposited by a melting glacier.
Esker: A long winding ridge of post glacial gravel and other sediment.
Drumlin: A smooth hill formed from deposits of glacial till.
I’ve got a lot more words from this book and I plan on using them next week. Until then, here’s something to think about, if you’ve been playing this game every Wednesday: isn’t it surprising how some definitions are so very clear, and others are worse than useless? Especially looking up the topographic terms, I was surprised by the way some definitions gave me a clear picture of the effect, while others were so vague or dolled-up in other technical terms, that I had no idea what they meant. No wonder people get frustrated!