Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday (July 8)

Wondrous Words Wednesday button
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.

These words are from The Impostor’s Daughter by Laurie Sandell:

Mnandi knife – “‘This one’s a beaut—it’s a mnandi knife with giraffe bone inlay’” (p. 4).

I couldn’t find a definition of mnandi knife, but from what I can gather from this site, it’s a type of pocket knife. Mnandi is a Zulu word, which means “very nice,” “delicious,” “handsome” or “admirable,” depending on which website you consult!

Hassock – “Karyn and I shared the hassock” (p. 22).

A hassock is “a thick firm cushion used to rest the feet on or, especially in church, to kneel on; an ottoman.”*

Redonkulous – “‘This is redonkulous!’” (p. 192).

According to the Urban Dictionary, redonkulous means “significantly more absurd than ridiculous to an almost impossible extreme; without possibility of serious consideration.” (Who knew I’d even find a definition for this ridiculous word?)

These next words are from Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret by Steve Luxenberg.

Panzer – “. . . the German panzers managed to overwhelm their well-armored Russian counterparts” (p. 250).

Panzers (plural) are “armoured troops”; panzer also refers to “an armoured vehicle, especially a tank.” I know I should have known this, but I didn’t so I had to look it up!

Narcosynthesis – “‘Psychotherapy and narcosynthesis have been used with good results,’ the 313th commanding officer commented in his quarterly report” (pp. 304-305).

According to, narcosynthesis is “a treatment for psychiatric disturbances that uses narcotics.”

Ruffing and finessing – “. . . for Mom, it’s another way to be close, although that’s not something that crosses my mind, not even for an instant, as she instructs me on counting cards and the finer points of ruffing and finessing” (p. 320).

To ruff means to “trump at cards,” while to finesse in bridge (which is what they are playing) is to “attempt to win a trick with a card that is not the highest held.”

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. Great selection of really uncommon words!! I knew hassock and guessed redonkulous (quite ridiculous that it was even officially defined somewhere!)

  2. Hey i just learned something new today! Great post, love the words LOL!
    Natalie :0)

  3. I have actually heard redonkulous before - not sure where or why, though. Maybe my 21 year old has said it before. I may have to throw it in to a sentence tonight to see how he reacts. Thanks for participating today!

  4. I think I've heard teens use "redonkulous" too. That's funny. Good list!

  5. I have never heard of redonkulous before - but I am going to try to remember it - that is a great word!

  6. Only knew a couple of your words. I've read Annie's Ghost but didn't recognize them, except panzer. The brain must be on vacation.