Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday (April 22)

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. The first three words I found are from Coventry by Helen Humphreys:

Provost – “She recognized the provost, an important dignitary in the city” (p. 58).

A provost can be “a member of the military police; a high-ranking ecclesiastical dignitary; or the head of some colleges, especially at Oxford or Cambridge.”* I suspect the second definition is the correct one here.

Guzzle – “There is a word I remember from my childhood–guzzle–a low, perhaps damp spot on an estuary or inland from a beach, as far inland sometimes as to be a field, where the sea can enter if it chooses” (p. 73).

It’s a good thing this word is defined in the book because I couldn’t find this definition anywhere else. However, the American Meteorological Society defines guzzle as Shetland Islands term meaning “an angry blast of wind, dry and parching” in their Glossary of Meteorology.

Finial – “The finial on the stair rail comes off in her hand when she grabs it to steady herself” (p. 123).

A finial is “an ornament finishing off the apex of a roof, pediment, gable, etc. or an ornamental knob on the top of a piece of furniture, stair post, etc.” The latter is obviously the correct definition here.

My last word is from The Next Big Thing by Johanna Edwards:

Lavalier – “‘The wire, which should be concealed beneath your shirt, connects the transmitter to your lavalier mic, or lapel microphone if you prefer’” (p. 132).

A lavaliere (alternate spellings: lavalier or lavalliere) is “a small microphone worn hanging around the neck.” It can also refer to “a pendant necklace or a loosely tied cravat.”

What new words have you discovered lately? Share your Wondrous Words on Kathy’s blog.

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


  1. I had heard of provost but probably couldn't have defined it. For some reason I knew what a finial was - but not sure why!

  2. I knew provost since we used to live in a college town and there was always some controversy brewing. I was surprised that you didn't know guzzle until I saw how it was used. Great words. Thanks for playing today!

  3. Wow, I'm patting myself on the back because I knew three of them. On provost I thought a provost was only at a college or university so I only half knew that one. Based on your words, your books sound good,

  4. Lavalier was completely new to me, and I only half-knew provost. So I got educated today!

    Meanwhile, mine are here.