Tag: wondrous words

New words that I have found in my reading this week, from Almost Perfect:

Brux– \”He\’s bruxing. That\’s the noise a rat makes when it\’s really happy.\”
Definition: grinding the teeth

and from It\’s Not About the Bike:

Peloton– \”The spectator rarely sees the technical side of cycling, but behind the gorgeous rainbow blur of the peloton is the more boring reality that road racing is a carefully calibrated thing…\”
Definition: the main group of riders in a cycling road race

Velodrome– \”We went into a velodrome to look at my position on the bike and determine where I was loosing power.
Definition: an indoor arena with a banked track for bicycle races

Collate– \”That first week my mother picked up all of my prescriptions, collated my medical records, scoured bookstores for cancer material, and organized my schedule.\”
Definition: to gather or arrange pages into a proper sequence

for more wondrous words, visit Bermudaonion\’s Weblog!

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bermudaonion where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. These first few words I came across in Sandy:

Caruncular– \”…. when the feathers began to rub away, exposing more and more of the caruncular red of maturity.\”
Definition: a fleshy naked outgrowth, like a chicken\’s wattles

Termagant– \”For almost sixteen years, Sandy dominated my marriage like a termagant mother-in-law…\”
Definition: an overbearing or nagging woman

The rest are from A Paddling of Ducks:

Cote– \”The birds were reared in their pigeon cotes with small jackets around their wings preventing their stretching or exercising.\”
Definition: a small shelter for birds (or sheep)

Trophic– \”Baby wood ducks have an instinctive, almost a trophic response for the first forty-eight hours after hatching.\”
Definition: stimulating growth? the meanings I found all had to do with nutrition…

Gudgeon– \”It looked to me like some green greasy gudgeon of the Limpopo…\”
Definition: A small eurasian freshwater fish related to the carp and used for bait

Cytologist– \”Dr. Yamashina, the well-known Japanese cytologist and ornithologist, has proposed a new theory about these birds.\”
Definition: one who studies the structure, formation and function of cells

Welter– \”Sir David carefully unlocked the cabinet, reached in, and abstracted from the welter a small package wrapped in a sheet of newspaper.\”
Definition: a confused mass or jumble

Fatuously– \”… the birds will swim upstream, as it were, into the breeze, curious to see the dog, and led along by the fatuously tame mallards.\”
Definition: unreal, delusive

I started doing a new thing with my discovered words this week. Every time I jotted down a word on my notepaper, I also wrote next to it what I thought the word meant. I found that more often than not, I already had a pretty good idea, sometimes it was a word I\’d run into before. The ones I share with you here are words I totally had no idea on, or the definition was a lot more specific than what I guessed. Happy reading!

Quiet here, but I\’ve still been reading! All the new-to-me words this week come from Vet on the Wild Side.

Greasepaint– \”What we needed were three good-natured circus elephants, brought up to the roar of the greasepaint, the shouting of clowns…\”
Definition: theatrical makeup, from grease mixed with paint. This one doesn\’t seem quite right, but I couldn\’t find any other meaning of the word.

Caliph– \”To make way for the mighty albino, lying like a dead caliph on his bier, two security guards with whistles and batons went ahead.\”
Definition: a successor of Muhammad, a leader of Islam

Inglenook– \”The pair of tigers were magnificent animals, adolescents who still retained some cubbishness, and as friendly and stroke-happy as any inglenook moggy.\”
Definition: a corner beside the fireplace

Compos mentis– \”By now Savari should have been up on his feet, groggy, but more or less compos mentis.\”
Definition: of a sound mind

Pantechnicon– \”The pantechnicon\’s engine wouldn\’t fire, so we had to push-start the enormous vehicle.\”
Definition: large van used to move furniture

Plonk– \”Perhaps the wine of the Plaza Mayor was colored chemical plonk.\”
Definition: cheap or inferior wine (slang)

Suzerainty– \”By democratic standards the Cubans are not a free people, but they are free of grinding poverty… and of the diseases of poverty, and they\’re free of American suzerainty.\”
Definition: the power or domain of a suzerain, a feudal lord

Dauphin– \”The arts of falconry and the love of the possession of those \’kingdom of the daylight\’s dauphins\’ courses in his blood.\”
Definition: formerly, the eldest son of the King of France

Shahin, Houbara– \”… but what did they know about the shahin in practice, the ways of the houbara and gazelle, such subtle quarry?\”
S: a swift Asiatic falcon
H: a large bird of the bustard family

Thermidor– \”Several of us were looking forward to having a thermidor for Saturday dinner, but we had reckoned without Andrea.\”
Definition: a dish of cooked lobster meat mixed with cream

Boffin– \”I\’ll get us an appointment to see a boffin!\”
Definition: (archaic) a scientist or technician engaged in research

Priapic– \”… the male madrill\’s startling colours, perfeclty normal in mature adults, did add a certain dramatic quality to these handsome animals\’ frequent priapic revels.\”
Definition: phallic

Trish asked me in the comments last week what my retention is like on the new vocab I find. Truthfully, half the time I forget them! I know I\’ve come across caliph and suzerainty before, but the meaning escaped me so I looked them up again. Often I have to look up a word two or three times before it sticks well. For a while, several years back, I wrote out new words and their definitions by hand in a notebook; the physical act of writing them seemed to help me remember them better. Typing doesn\’t quite have the same sticking-factor, for me. (But it\’s faster! And easeir to search). To find more wondrous words, visit this meme\’s host at Bermudaonion\’s Weblog.

I\’ve been so out of it I missed posting for wondrous words on wednesday- so here are my finds, on a friday. Hope no one minds.

These new words are from Dolphin Chronicles:

Proprioceptive– \”A dolphin might have a hard time conveying an accurate acoustic image he\’d echolocated on if the other party didn\’t also have access to his proprioceptive information…\”
Definition: the ability to sense the body\’s location, position and orientation

Antiphonal– \”They often whistle in antiphonal fashion- when one whistles, another calls in response.\”
Definition: occurring or responding in turns

Vicissitude– \”She\’d suffered through the various vicissitudes of the project, all the waiting and all the uncertainties.\”
Definition: a change or variation

Prophylactic– \”Forrest prescribed a prophylactic regimen of antibiotics for both Echo and Misha…\”
Definition: acting to defend against or protect something

Anthropogenic– \”Excluding the mad slasher, anthropogenic causes include fishing nets, pollution, and boats.\”
Definition: caused by humans

Seriatim– \”Not all at once- they don\’t necessarily need to broadcast along the whole length of the bay- but seriatim.\”
Definition: one after another, in a series

These words are from Ice Bound:

Antipodal– \”Other points of departure for the huge continent include Cape Town, South Africa; Punta Arenas, Chile; and a few other antipodal ports.\”
Definition: situated on opposite sides of the Earth

Austral– \”But it was late in the austral summer, and almost everybody was already in place at the three US bases.\”
Definition: relating to or of the southern region of the globe

Ablate– \”I had to surgically ablate the dead skin, cut below it to loosen and stretch it and repair the wound…\”
Definition: to remove an organ or body structure

Sastrugi-\”We were airborne, skimming the tops of sastrugi.\”
Definition: a long wavelike ridge of snow formed by wind

Here\’s the new words I found in my reading during the week:

From Adventures of a Zoologist:

Noncom– \”… we watched through the windows as noncoms fried steaks on a grill among the snowdrifts.\”
Definition: a subordinate officer appointed from enlisted personnel

Otolith– \”Students at Evergreen State College, on Puget Sound, are finding out what seals eat by examining fish otoliths in seal scats recovered from the beach.\”
Definition: a calcerous particle found in the inner ear; in bony fishes it forms a hard shape distinctive to each species

From Dolphin Chronicles:

Purview– \”Even in a boat it\’s difficult to track dolphins at sea for any length of time, and then we generally see only the surface of their lives- most of their activity takes place under water, beyond our purview.\”
Definition: range of vision, comprehension, or experience

Necropsy– \”They were about to perform a necropsy on Arrow, Jane said, and would let us know the results.\”
Definition: what an autopsy is called when performed on animals

Sobriquet– \”So what better sobriquet than Mikhal Baryshnikov\’s nickname?\”
Definition: an affectionate or humorous nickname (one of the dolphins was named Misha)

Gelid– \”A true athlete- triathlete, actually- with the smoothly muscled physique of a competitive swimmer, she swam regularly in the gelid waters of Monterey Bay.\”
Definition: very cold, icy

Umbrage– \”After some initial umbrage at the appellation, we decided to claim the title as our own: we were the dolphinettes, and proud of it.\”
U: feeling of anger, taking offense
Appellation: a name or title (see above usage)

For more wondrous words, visit the host of this meme at Bermudaonion\’s Weblog.

The bulk of these words, again, are from Quicksilver.

Scrivener– \”That is his money-scrivener.\”
Definition: a professional copyist or scribe

Moiety– \”The Admirality…. or some moiety or faction thereof.\”
Definition: a small portion or share

Claque– \”But the sect was shattered into a thousand claques and cabals.\”
Claque: a group of fawning admirers
Cabal: a conspiring group of plotters

Cochineal– \”Daniel and Charles and Hooke had been making them for some weeks out of yard-long glass tubes, filled with spirits of wine, dyed with cochineal.\”
Definition: a vivid red dye made from an insect

Ricercar– \”…they were taught to play a little lute and dance a passable ricercar.\”
Definition: a musical form of the 16th century

Turpitude– \”Not that anyone would pay any notice, anyway, if the son of Drake were to level an accusation of moral turpitude against the Duke of York.\”
Definition: depravity

Obloquy– \”… no one would hear them above the roar of obloquy.\”
Definition: abusive language or blame

Limn– \”Now as the day went on and it sank toward the horizon, it turned orange and then red, and began to limn vast billows and towers of smoke…\”(describing the sun sinking, in a haze from fire)
Definition: to depict in a painting or drawing

Theophany– \”Like a theophany of the Old Testament.\”
Definition: divine manifestation

Corsair– \”John Churchill was one of the few courtiers who actually did things like go to Barbaray and go mano a mano with heathen corsairs…\”
Definition: a pirate, a swift pirate ship

Argent– \”Once he\’d focused on that, a couple of tiny adjustments brought Isaac\’s waterfall of ardent hair into view…\”
Definition: silver colored

These two from The Ra Expeditions:

Hermetically– \”Archeologists had recently discovered that a large ship lay buried on each side of this large pyramid; four ships in all were lying there, hermetically preserved.\”
Definition: sealed to prevent air from entering, or escaping

Tricorne– \”The papyrus reed was six to eight feet long and about two inches thick at the root, with a tricorne-shaped cross section.
Definition: having three corners

Visit the host of wondrous words wednesdays at Bermudaonion\’s Weblog.

The first two on this list came from my reading of The Other End of the Leash. The rest are from Quicksilver. Even though I have made slow progress with this book (only 127 pages so far), it still supplies me with many many new words each week!

Sinusodial– \”The dogs would waver back and forth, moving in a sinusodial S curve, trying to follow the molecules of scent as they moved through the air…\”
Definition: curving (isn\’t the phrase redundant, then?)

Paedomorphic– \”This tendency to continue exuberant play into adulthood is one of the factors that leads most scientists to consider dogs and humans as paedomorphic…\”
Definition: retaining juvenile characteristics into adulthood

Coelestial– \”The tail of Ursa Major was like the hand of a coelestical clock, and Daniel had been studying how to read it.\”
Definition: another spelling for celestial

Spadroon– \”The black-clad fellow drew out a sword of his own, something dull and clanging, a heavier spadroon, and the scarlet boy came at him like a boiling cloud, with lightning movements darting out of the center.\”
Definition: a broadsword used both to cut and thrust

Sizar– \”Daniel finally recognized him as Roger Comstock, the sizar.\”
Definition: a student at Cambridge who having passed certain examinations, was exempt from paying for food and tuition and had lodgings at very low cost

Ween– \”I ween you are of the same mind, Mr. Waterhouse, but sailing on a ship across the North Atlantic is not for cowards, and so you are here.\”
Definition: to think or suppose

Lascar– \”The lascars spring up and busy themselves drawing up his equipage on ropes.\”
Definition: an East Indian seaman

Gnomon– \”Newton was constructing a sundial on a south-facing wall, using as gnomon, a slender rod with a ball on the end.\”
Definition: stationary arm on a sundial whose shadow indicates the time

Shawm– \”Stourbridge Fair was already audible: barking of dogs, wild strains from bagpipes and shawms whipping over their heads like twists of bright ribbon unwinding in the breeze.
Definition: a double-reed instrument that preceeded the oboe

Numismatic– \”If you would allow me to approach within ten feet of these coins, it would help me to appreciate their numismatic excellence….\”
Definition: having to do with coins or currency

Saturnine– \”In a country inn, on the way to St. Ives, he encountered a saturnine, beetle-browed chap name of Oliver Cromwell who had recently lost his faith, and seen his life ruined…\”
Definition: of a melancholy or solemn disposition, from being born under the sign of Saturn

Pedantry– \”…. out of a stubborn belief that pedantry and repetitiveness could through some alchemy be forged into wit.\”
Definition: giving excessive attention to academic learning or formal rules

Caitiff– \”Have you ever felt a certain annoyance, when one of your semi-educated Londoners speaks of \’a vile rascal\’ or \’a miserable caitiff\’ or \’crafty knave,\’ \’idle truant,\’ or \’flattering parasite\’?\”
Definition: a despicable person, a cowardly wretch

Homiletical– \”Daniel exhausted the Terms of Abuse in a few short hours, then moved on to Virtues (intellectual, moral, and homiletical), Colors, Sounds, Tastes and Smells, Professions (viz, carpentry, sewing, alchemy) Operations, and so on.\”
Definition: relating to or having the nature of a homily: an inspirational saying or moralizing lecture

Phew! This book is giving me words every other pages, it feels like. Visit Bermudaonion\’s Weblog to see what new words other readers discovered this week.

Again, my new words come from two books. The first few are from Compost This Book! Then we get into Quicksilver, a heavy tome rich with descriptive unknowns. This is just the beginning of what I\’m going to be looking up in the next week or so (it\’s a 900-page book)!

From Compost This Book!:

Geriatric– \”There\’d be a whole ecosystem in miniature lurking in that geriatric vegetable.\”
Definition: relating to the aging process

Sybaritic-\”When Marty\’s heap is really cooking, the sybaritic creature is nearly always stretched out on top, luxuriating in the warmth.\”
Definition: devoted to or marked by pleasure and luxury

Chelating– \”Like the sugar coating on a pill, the chelating humus makes the minerals palatable….\”
Definition: to combine (a metal ion) with a chemical compound to form a ring

From Quicksilver:

Doppelganger– \”Now he knows why: his doppelganger is a lad, moving about like a drop of quicksilver that cannot be trapped under the thumb.\”
Definition: a ghostly double of a living person that haunts its living counterpart

Erudition– \”We have, as I said, found the place where your erudition gives way to ignorance.\”
Definition: profound scholarly knowledge

Mephitic– \”They break out into the mephitic bog on its western flank.\”
Definition: poisonous or foul-smelling

Azimuth– \”The schoolmaster adjusted his azimuth as the target moved, like a telescope tracking a comet, but none of his blows seemed to have actually been felt by the fair boy yet…\” (this usage does not make sense to me, with the def.s I could find)
Definition: the arc of the sky between the zenith and the horizon or the horizontal angle of a bearing measured clockwise from the north (in surveying)

Ontogeny– \”\”There was a dollhouse and a clan of rag dolls in diverse phases of ontogeny.\”
Definition: the origin and development of an individual organism from embryo to adult

Empiricist– \”Oh, he will be a great empiricist.\”
Definition: one who disregards scientific theory and relies solely on practical experience

Visit Wondrous Words Wednesdays at Bermudaonion\’s Weblog.

Some of the words I have for this week are from the end of Emma, the rest are from the book I just finished, Sand. Quite a difference in subject and theme- from Victorian drawing rooms to the American West and cowboy lingo!

From Emma:

Conundrum-\”Agreed, agreed. I am making a conundrum. How will a conundrum reckon?\”
Definition: a riddle whose answer is (or involves) a pun

Acrostic– \”I had an acrostic once sent to me upon my own name which I was not at all pleased with.\”
Definition: a poem or verse where the first (or last) letter of each line forms a word or phrase

Ostler– \”… when Mr. Elton came back, he told us what John the ostler had been telling him…\”
Definition: a stableman at an inn (I remember this word now, from Black Beauty)

Extenuation– \”Let us wait, therefore, for this letter. It may bring many extenuations.\”
Definition: to excuse a fault (archaic meaning, the more common definition is to make something thin or stretched)

From Sand:

Nubbin– \”Sometimes tho, he thought, he sure would rap them hands of his and make him let go of the nubbin.\”
Definition: a short, projecting part (here the saddle horn)

Rowel– \”…and with a well placed rowel against the shortribs of that horse, lined him out from the one spot and set him going for other sods on a long crowhopping lope.\”
Definition: a sharp-toothed wheel on a spur

Senatorium– \”And another thing, this camp is no riding academy, nor senatorium.\”
Definition: a resort for the improvement of one\’s health

Whang, Marlin spike- \”There was rawhide hobbles, a marlin spike, a few strips of whang leather which, Skip had told him, was handy to mend things with.\”
M-S- a pointed metal spike used to separate rope strands while splicing
W- a thong or whip made of hide or leather

Hackamore– \”Then, amongst other odds and ends, was a hackamore, a rope full of the knots which the Kid had started teaching him to tie….\”
Definition- a halter or bridle with no bit, having a noose to tighten around the nose or a wide band that can be lowered over the horse\’s eyes, used in breaking to halter

Soogan– \” \’Well, I guess it\’s time for me to hit the soogans,\’ he says\”
Definition: a bedroll

Latigo– \”Ropes are muddy and stiff, so are the latigoes and everything else a cowboy touches.\”
Definition: a strap that tigthens the saddle girth

Queer– \”There been just a snag which come near to queering everything.\”
Definition: slang for to ruin or thwart

Visit Bermudaonion\’s Weblog to see what new words others have found this week.

This week all my new words came from Emma. Even if I\’m not enjoying the book, it\’s expanding my vocabulary! A lot of them are so archaic, though, I fear I\’ll never use them. O well, at least they\’ll be recognizable next time I meet them in print.

Valetudinarian– \”The evil of the actual disparity in their ages was much increased by his constitution and habits; for having been a valetudinarian all his life, without activity of mind or body, he was a much older man in ways than in years…\”
Definition: a sickly or weak person, constantly concerned with their own health

Mizzle– \”Ever since the day that Miss Taylor and I met with him in Broadway-lane, when, because it began to mizzle, he darted away with so much gallantry, and borrowed two umbrellas for us…\”
Definition: rain in a fine mist, drizzle

Cockade– \”Here is my sketch of the fourth, who was a baby… and it is as strong a likeness of his cockade as you would wish to see.\”
Definition: a feather or rosette on a hat

Cavil– \”Her eyes, a deep grey, with dark eye-lashes and eye-brows, had never been denied their praise, but the skin, which she had been used to cavil at, as wanting colour, had a clearness and delicacy which really needed no fuller bloom.\”
Definition: to find fault with, or make a trivial objection

Recontre– \”…the history which he had to give Mrs. Cole of the rise and progress of the affair was so glorious- the steps so quick from the accidental recontre, to the dinner at Mrs. Green\’s, and the party at Mrs. Brown\’s…\”
Definition: an unplanned meeting

Tippet– \”Jane, Jane, my dear Jane, where are you? Here is your tippet. Mrs. Weston begs you to put on your tippet. She says she is afraid there will be draughts in the passage.\”
Definition: a woman\’s fur shoulder cape with hanging ends

There were also a lot of words I knew, but whose spelling gave them unfamiliar faces: chuse for choose, foretel for foretell, beaufet for buffet, stopt for stopped, sopha for sofa, surprize for surprise, huswife for housewife, etc. I\’m not sure which of these words have different spellings because they\’re British, or just because spelling wasn\’t standardized back in the 1800\’s? But they made for interesting reading!

For more wondrous words, visit the host of this meme at Bermudaonion\’s Weblog.


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