Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Wondrous Words Wednesday (March 18)
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’ve just finished reading Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos, so all my words are from that book:
Soubrettish – “Some look saucy and soubrettish” (p. 115).
A soubrette is“a pert maidservant or similar female character in a play, ballet or musical comedy, or an actress taking this part.”* Soubrettish is therefore someone who is acting like a soubrette, someone pert or vivacious.
Rogue – “If it’s any comfort, I know about detasseling and roguing corn” (p. 136).
To rogue is to “remove inferior or defective plants or seedlings from a crop.”
Catafalque – “No one would suspect that, in the next room, a dead man is lying draped in his coffin on a catafalque . . .” (p. 146).
A catafalque is “a decorated wooden framework for supporting the coffin of a distinguished person during a funeral or while lying in state.”
Fricative – “She loves them all, even the ones whose voices are less melodious: birds who sound like the unoiled hinges of porch screen doors, birds whose voices are metallic and fricative, like the ratchets the Labenz boys use to tighten car parts at the Texaco” (p. 168).
Fricative means “(of a consonant sound) produced by the friction of the airstream through a narrow opening in the mouth.”
Holochroal – “She opens the dictionary at random, sets her finger on the page, and finds ‘holochroal: having compound eyes with the visual area covered by an continuous cornea—used esp. of certain trilobites’” (p. 190).
OK, so this one is cheating a bit, considering the word is defined in the book, which is lucky since it isn’t in my dictionary!
Zwieback – “On the flip side, she hasn’t bitten anything, not even a zwieback” (p. 270).
A zwieback is “a sweet rich egg bread, sliced and baked again until crisp.” Of all the words I’ve defined in WWW posts, this is the only one where context gave me nothing to go on and I really had no idea what this could mean!
What new words have you discovered lately? Share your Wondrous Words.
*All definitions are from the Canadian Oxford Dictionary (2004).