Wondrous Words Wednesday

I am so excited! I haven’t had any new words for a while (my reading hasn’t been challenging enough, I guess), but I’ve got a whole slew of them this week! I just finished William Gibson’s Zero History and I loved it – plus, it gave me all these words to share with you…

1. Vitrine – a glass display case

“To her right, in shadow, illuminated form within by an Edwardian museum fixture, stood a vitrine displaying taxidermy.”

2. Liminal – Of or relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process

“Something too thoroughly liminal about them.”

3. Ormolu – A gold-colored alloy of copper, zinc, and sometimes tin, cast into desired shapes and often gilded, used esp. in the 18th century for decorating furniture and making ornaments

“Variously sized heads of marble, ivory, ormolu.”

4. Slut’s wool – the accumulated fluff of dust that can be found under beds or in corners of rooms

“And decked, she always noted with a certain satisfaction, with a bit of frank slut’s wool, the only actual dust she’d yet seen in Cabinet.”

5. Gyratory – Of or involving circular or spiral motion

“Then they were in it, fully gyratory, the driver expertly and repeatedly inserting the Hilux’s secretly massive but oddly skittish bulk sideways, it seemed, into absurdly small lane-change gaps.”

6. Curettage – The removal of tissue or growths from a body cavity, such as the uterus, by scraping with a curette.

“Curettage. Nasty.”

7. Maquette – A sculptor’s small preliminary model or sketch

“The maquette for one of the early takes on a collaboration between Taser and Mossberg, the shotgun manufacturer.”

8. Avuncular – Kind and friendly toward a younger or less experienced person

“Behind them, somehow worringly avuncular, loomed Bigend.”

9. Patinate – To acquire a patina, a change in surface due to age or exposure

“Everything they were wearing, he decided, qualified as what she’d call ‘iconic,’ but had originally become that way through their ability to gracefully patinate.”

10. Gear-queer – Military Lingo – A person who always wants the newest scope, site, rail system, or thing that they will never end up using.

“But many of the rest have gone gear-queer, to one extent or another.”

11. Palimpsest – 

1. A manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing. 2. Something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.

“I told that to Reg, last month, and he said it was a palimpsest.”

12. Tattersall – A woolen fabric with a pattern of colored checks and intersecting lines, resembling a tartan.

“Jun had been busy unbuttoning and unfolding a tattersall shirt, which he now helped Milgrim into.”

13. Spiv – a person without employment who makes money by various dubious schemes; goes about smartly dressed and having a good time

“‘You look good,’ Bigend said, ‘like a fox-hunting spiv.'”

14. Androgenic – Pertaining to the development of male characteristics.

“If he’s the one I think you mean, he makes me want to believe that global warming isn’t androgenic just to spite him.”


WOW.  That’s a lot of words! And some of them are a lot of fun.

What new words did YOU learn this week?

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