Happy Wednesday! Boy, do I have some words for you this week. Historical fiction is so good for learning new words. My current book, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, takes place in Nagasaki, but the main characters are primarily Dutch. That has resulted in quite an assortment of words. Check them out:
1. Magistracy – the district under the jurisdiction of a magistrate
“Welcome to the magistracy, Mr. de Zoet.”
2. Harquebus – an obsolete firearm with a long barrel
“Good God,” Vorstenbosch peers closer, “it’s a Portuguese harquebus.”
3. Parvenu – a person who has suddenly risen to a higher social and economic class and has not yet gained social acceptance by others in that class
“Mr. Grote agreed that the Sea of Courtship seethes with sharks and spoke of the prejudice endured by the young colonial parvenu…”
4. Dithyrambic – a wildly enthusiastic speech or piece of writing
“A candlestick hops in dithyrambic circles; sheaves of paper from high shelves swoop in loops.”
5. Provedore – a purveyor
“Mr. Grote receives a visitor; a provedore, who enters with a full bag, in plain view.”
6. Stuiver – a coin used in the Netherlands until the Napoleonic Wars
“Each of these — Grote picks up a nail from his cache — is a stuiver off of our wages.”
7. Bourse – a stock exchange or share market
“Unofficially, we are a bourse for the rangakusha — scholars of European sciences and arts — to exchange ideas.”
8. Moxibustion – an Oriental medicine therapy involving moxa, or mugwort herb.
“Here is toki parsley, good for colicky infants; next, acrid yomogi shavings, ground to a powder for moxibustion.”
9. Febrifuges – any medicine or drug for reducing fever
“Orito catches herself wondering what febrifuges have been administered, before thinking, He is no concern of mine.”
Great words! Some are British, some are Japanese, some Dutch. A great assortment and very educational.
What new words did YOU learn this week?
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