Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wondrous Word Wednesday: Skipped Last Two Months Edition

Hosted by Bermuda Onion, the point of this meme is to share all the new words you came across this week. Yay!


Hi. I'm back.

To start, these are from Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories, which I have finished and will review soon. Specifically, they're from a story called "Afterward" by Edith Wharton.


espalier -- a tree or shrub that is trained to grow in a flat plane against a wall, often in a symmetrical pattern

cote -- a small shed or shelter for sheep or birds

She went first to the kitchen garden, where the espaliered pear trees drew complicated patterns on the walls, and pigeons were fluttering and preening about the silvery-slated roof of their cote.

The next are from The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox, review also forthcoming.

assiduity -- constant personal attention and often obsequious solicitude

As the Marquis's Indisposition increased, so did her Care and Assiduity: She would not allow any one to give him any thing but herself...

Yeah, they do the German "capitalize every Noun" thing in this Book and it gets sort of distracting. But I like it.

rodomontade -- pretentiously boastful or bragging

I can't but think, cried Sir Charles, laughing, how poor Dolly must be surprised at such a rhodomontade Speech!

Yeah, and they italicize proper names. Helpful. n.b. Rhodomontade is an alternate spelling.

And the last three are from The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne. Review NOT forthcoming because I'm only 30 pages in and this one is big.

spavin -- enlargement of the hock of a horse by a bony growth (bony spavin) or fluid accumulation in the joint (bog spavin), usually caused by inflammation or injury, and often resulting in lameness

... the upshot of which was generally this, that his horse was either clapped, or spavined, or greazed; or he was twitter-boned, or broken-winded, or something, in short, or other had befallen him, which would let him carry no flesh...

To find out why this is an upshot, you can buy the book and read the impossibly-long sentence yourself.

rectitude -- moral uprightness; righteousness

But there is a fatality attends the actions of some men. Order them as they will, they pass thro' a certain medium, which so twists and refracts them from their true directions--that, with all the titles to praise which a rectitude of heart can give, the doers of them are nevertheless forced to live and die without it.

lambent -- effortlessly light or brilliant

Yorick's last breath was hanging upon his trembling lips ready to depart as he uttered this: yet still it was uttered with something of a Cervantick tone; and as he spoke it, Eugenius could perceive a stream of lambent fire lighted up for a moment in his eyes; faint picture of those flashes of his spirit, which (as Shakespeare said of his ancestor) were wont to set the table in a roar!

Lovely, yes?


  1. Wow, those are all great words! I've seen espaliers before, but had no idea there was a special name for them. Thanks for participating!

  2. I only know lambent. Thanks for those great words.

  3. Lovely? Yes, definitely. Lambent is my favorite of all your words, maybe because of that lovely sentence. I'll try to use that word some time today.

  4. Lovely indeed - especially since i love Roald Dahl :)
    Here's mine

  5. What great words! I've only heard the last two before. I am curious how closely assudity comes to a crime. :)


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