Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wondrous Word Wednesday: Snow Day Edition

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


SNOW DAY! I don't have to work! I know I shouldn't rejoice when houses of knowledge are shut down, but I've had a lovely, lazy day so far, and people can get their learn on tomorrow. Anyway...

To begin, from Story of O by Pauline Réage:

gynaeceum -- in ancient Greek and Roman houses, the section of rooms set apart for women

Jacqueline was her professional name, a name chosen to forget her real name, and with it this sordid but tender gynaeceum, and to se herself up in the French sun, in a solid world where there are men who do marry you and not disappear...

This refers to how the character grew up in a small apartment with her mother, aunt, and grandmother. It's not a brothel or anything, though I suppose the term could still apply.

The next one is from Philip Roth's short novella, The Breast.

adipose tissue -- basically, fat tissue

...I experienced myself as speaking to others like one buried within, and very nearly strangulated by, his own adipose tissue...

Fun fact from Wikipedia: "Adipose tissue is derived from lipoblasts!" Exclamation mine.

Ok and to finish up, these are from The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett.

valetudinarian -- a weak or sickly person, especially one morbidly concerned with his or her health

Its communication with the Baths,is through the yard of an inn, where the poor trembling valetudinarian is carried in a chair, betwixt the heels of a double row of horses...

That was neat... not all what I expected that word to mean.

encomium -- a Latin word deriving from the Classical Greek ἐγκώμιον (encomion) meaning the praise of a person or thing

In the course of coffeehouse conversation, I had often heard very extraordinary enconiums passed on the performances of Mr T--, a gentleman residing in this place, who paints landscapes for his amusement.

lububrations -- that which is composed by night; that which is produced by meditation in retirement; hence (loosely) any literary composition

[N]ay, they do not even scruple to arrogate themselves the merit of some of his performances, and have been known to sell their own lucubrations as the produce of his brain.

That's it! See ya next week!


  1. I knew adipose tissue because I have a friend in the medical field who uses that phrase all the time. I'm wondering if I should take it personally. Thanks for participating!

  2. Adipose tissue was the only one I knew too. Interesting words. Thanks for sharing!


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