Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday (May 27)

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. Feel free to join in the fun.

All my words this week are from Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton.

Parky – “. . . Nana had much more often had call to complain of its being parky, up there on the deck access” (p. 3).

Parky means “chilly.”*

Chipolata – “Which of course made her begin at once to worry herself, taking all the enjoyment out of her single Lincolnshire pork chipolata” (p. 38).

A chipolata is “a small thin sausage.”

Jalfrezi – “She would have called out but her tongue was fat and uncooperative with sleep, her throat as dry as if she had had those lagers with Murray and a jalfrezi as well, instead of her solitary mug of tea and two cold sausages on a saucer” (p. 44).

Jalfrezi isnt in my dictionary or in, but Wikipedia defines it as “a type of Indian curry in which marinated pieces of meat or vegetables are fried in oil and spices to produce a dry, thick sauce.”

Invidious – “But the lecture on fire safety which was forming itself upon his lips suddenly struck him as invidious” (p. 49).

Invidious is an adjective used to describe an action, conduct, attitude, etc. that is “likely to excite resentment or indignation against the person responsible, especially by real or seeming injustice.”

Gennel – “Where they left the pavements for a short way to cut up the gennel beside the newsagent’s and then past the swings on the triangle of untidy grass . . .” (p. 65).

No sign of this word in my dictionary, or Wikipedia, but the Urban Dictionary provides this definition: a gennel “is a covered alleyway connecting two terrace houses.”

Giro – “‘No, she gets her giro, so she ought to be able to make do all right’” (p. 157).

is “a system of credit transfer between banks, post offices, etc., or a cheque or payment by giro, especially used for unemployment benefit or social security payments.”

Cutting – “‘Sat in a cutting near Baldock for nearly an hour’” (p. 213).

In this context, a cutting
refers to “an excavated channel through high ground for a railway or road.”

Excursus – “. . . once they were away, she settled back in the passenger seat happily enough, keeping him distracted, as he negotiated the multiple roundabouts of the ring road, with an excursus on how greatly the state of Sheffield’s public housing stock had suffered . . .” (p. 267).

An excursus is “a detailed discussion of a special point in a book, usually in an appendix, or a digression in a narrative.”

Viva – “‘The best thing is to try to forget all about it until we hear about a date for your viva’” (p. 307).

I think viva is short for viva voce,
which is “an oral examination for an academic qualification.”

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 was a bit surprised when I saw cutting in your list until I read the sentence and the definition. You always find great words - you must read intellectual books. Thanks for participating.

  2. Jalfrezi is familiar as I am an Indian!


    You are right. I had forgotten to add that Sconce also means a light fixture put on the wall, which faces upwards.


  3. Cutting is great - it's always interesting to see a familiar word used in a new way!

    My words are here.

  4. You found a lot of words but they are all so interesting. I agree with Kathy/Bermuda Onion - you do read the most interesting books with a special twist to them.

  5. Kathy and Lisa, I love finding new definitions for common words! Cutting as a noun actually has a surprising number of definitions.

    Gautami, as soon as I saw the definition of jalfrezi, I realized I'd seen the word before in the grocery store! Thanks for providing the other definition of sconce.

    Kathy (again) and Margot, I'm not sure "intellectual" is the right word in this case! It's just that it's a British book and she uses a lot of probably fairly common British terms I'm not familiar with!

  6. I've heard the word Jalfrezi but wasn't sure what it meant.

    For once on this Wednesday meme I can actually say that I know a word =D We use the word giro in Norwegian.

  7. That's neat, Ladybug, that giro is used in Norwegian. Thanks for stopping by and apologies for taking so long to reply!