Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday (February 25)

Kathy at Bermudaonion’s Weblog hosts this weekly meme in which she asks us to share new words we’ve come across in our reading. I’m actually still rereading Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott, so I have a few more words from that book this week:

Suffragan – “His car not being completely reliable, Paul took the bus to the Diocesan office in Regina to see the suffragan bishop” (p. 96).

In the Anglican Church, suffragan is a term “designating a bishop appointed to help a diocesan bishop in the administration of a diocese; an auxiliary bishop.”*

Scotch – “He should have had the courage to scotch her stupid jealousy, for her own sake as well as his comfort” (p. 97).

In this context, scotch means to “put an end to,” a definition I gathered from the context, although I wasn’t familiar with this usage of the word.

Wow – “It [the kitchen table] had a wow in the middle and she was sick of it” (p. 151).

According to my dictionary, in addition to its well-known meaning, wow also refers to “a slow pitch-fluctuation in sound reproduction, perceptible in long notes”; however, this doesn’t sound like something a kitchen table could have! The Wikipedia definition refers to a similar phenomenon in video recording that can cause the top of the picture to wobble, which made me wonder if the table was wobbly. Can anyone else shed light on this term?

Edited to add: Melanie from The Indextrious Reader confirmed that wow, in this context, is “a common term to describe a warp or a curve in a piece of wood.” Thanks, Melanie!

Grommet– “Banging reverberated in the basement, and Dolly and Trevor kept slipping down to check on things and being sent back upstairs with urgent messages like Tell Clary we need a three-pronged grommet, by Thursday, go tell her right now” (p. 168).

Being a big fan of Wallace and Gromit, I’m sure I must have looked up the word grommet before, but I didn’t remember what it means. A grommet is “a metal, plastic, or rubber eyelet, especially placed in a hole to protect or insulate a rope or cable, etc. passed through it.” (Obviously, there’s no such thing as a three-pronged grommet!)

Zephyr – “When Clary had walked the children to school she decided, blown by some needling zephyr, to take Pearce over to the hospital” (p. 193).

A zephyr is “a mild gentle wind or breeze.”

What new words have you discovered lately? Share your Wondrous Words.

*Unless otherwise noted, all definitions are from the Canadian Oxford Dictionary (2004).


  1. I have no idea what WOW could mean in that context...that's an odd one....hmmm...I'll have to ponder that one for a long while.

    I love Wallace & Grommit too! I use grommets in scrapbooking sometimes...I think that's what they are called...they are for sure metal eyelets.

  2. These are some great words! Wow really is an intriguing one...who would have thought?

  3. Great words! I never knew wow had another meaning. I tried looking it up and didn't come up with anything either. Thanks for playing along.

  4. Never heard wow used in that context before. According to Urban Dictionary it could mean World of Warcraft but I don't think that would help you out here...

  5. You had some good words here - I have no idea what wow means in that context. . . I did not have any words this week - means I need to read more challenging books!

  6. I knew "zephyr" (9th grade vocab word) and "scotch", "grommet" sounds familiar (I must have had the same reasons for checking it as you), and "wow" is a new one. I have no idea what that might be. Interesting words. I really like this idea and if I kept pencils handy when I read, I might actually do something like this to keep my vocab skills up. Of course, I don't keep pencils next to me when I read, so...

  7. I looked up "wow" too and came up empty.

  8. I guess it's because I, like Marina Endicott, am from Saskatchewan -- wow is a common term to describe a warp or a curve in a piece of wood. If her table had a wow in it, it was probably uneven and would be unfixable as it was inherent in the grain of the wood. I can see how it would annoy her!

  9. Serena, yup, that is exactly what grommets are. I knew that, but had forgotten.

    Yay, Melanie, thank you for confirming what "wow" means in this context! That was actually my first thought in reading the sentence, but then I was completely perplexed by the dictionary definition!

    Thanks to all who commented!

  10. A few of these words sounded familiar but I really had no idea what the correct definitions for any of them were! These posts are always so educational!


  11. Shana, this meme definitely makes me pay more attention as I read! (I'm sure I would have found lots of new words in Acedia & Me, if I'd only been paying attention!)