May 6, 2009

wondrous words

The bulk of these words, again, are from Quicksilver.

Scrivener- "That is his money-scrivener."
Definition: a professional copyist or scribe

Moiety- "The Admirality.... or some moiety or faction thereof."
Definition: a small portion or share

Claque- "But the sect was shattered into a thousand claques and cabals."
Claque: a group of fawning admirers
Cabal: a conspiring group of plotters

Cochineal- "Daniel and Charles and Hooke had been making them for some weeks out of yard-long glass tubes, filled with spirits of wine, dyed with cochineal."
Definition: a vivid red dye made from an insect

Ricercar- "...they were taught to play a little lute and dance a passable ricercar."
Definition: a musical form of the 16th century

Turpitude- "Not that anyone would pay any notice, anyway, if the son of Drake were to level an accusation of moral turpitude against the Duke of York."
Definition: depravity

Obloquy- "... no one would hear them above the roar of obloquy."
Definition: abusive language or blame

Limn- "Now as the day went on and it sank toward the horizon, it turned orange and then red, and began to limn vast billows and towers of smoke..."(describing the sun sinking, in a haze from fire)
Definition: to depict in a painting or drawing

Theophany- "Like a theophany of the Old Testament."
Definition: divine manifestation

Corsair- "John Churchill was one of the few courtiers who actually did things like go to Barbaray and go mano a mano with heathen corsairs..."
Definition: a pirate, a swift pirate ship

Argent- "Once he'd focused on that, a couple of tiny adjustments brought Isaac's waterfall of ardent hair into view..."
Definition: silver colored

These two from The Ra Expeditions:

Hermetically- "Archeologists had recently discovered that a large ship lay buried on each side of this large pyramid; four ships in all were lying there, hermetically preserved."
Definition: sealed to prevent air from entering, or escaping

Tricorne- "The papyrus reed was six to eight feet long and about two inches thick at the root, with a tricorne-shaped cross section.
Definition: having three corners

Visit the host of wondrous words wednesdays at Bermudaonion's Weblog.


  1. Oh my gosh! That book has all kinds of new words - it might be to hard for me.

  2. What a wonderful, wonderful list! One could immerse oneself and drown in all those glorious words. They're all jewels!

    Mind seem a bit paltry by comparison, but they're here, anyway. :-)

  3. Theophany is sure a neat word...thanks for sharing all of these. My words are here.

  4. Love your words! Have you ever read Herman Melville's short story "Bartleby the Scrivener"? If not I highly recommend it - a lot of people have said they don't see the point of it, but I think it's so funny (and slightly tragic).

  5. Bermudaonion- I'm actually beginning to feel that way myself.

    Phyl- This book is full of such jewels. It is such a rich read.

    Jo-Jo- I like "theophany" too.

    Jenny- I've never read (or heard of) anything by Melville except Moby Dick. I'm sure I'd love a short story of his!

  6. Anonymous5/07/2009

    I love your words, expecially ricercar.

  7. Whoo, so many good words! A friend and I were introducing each other to new words recently (one a day, while he was visiting), and he introduced me to "moral turpitude." (I introduced him to tartrazine!) There's something about the way turpitude rolls off the tongue that appeals to me, despite its meaning!


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