Jun 10, 2009

wondrous words

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bermudaonion where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. These first few words I came across in Sandy:

Caruncular- ".... when the feathers began to rub away, exposing more and more of the caruncular red of maturity."
Definition: a fleshy naked outgrowth, like a chicken's wattles

Termagant- "For almost sixteen years, Sandy dominated my marriage like a termagant mother-in-law..."
Definition: an overbearing or nagging woman

The rest are from A Paddling of Ducks:

Cote- "The birds were reared in their pigeon cotes with small jackets around their wings preventing their stretching or exercising."
Definition: a small shelter for birds (or sheep)

Trophic- "Baby wood ducks have an instinctive, almost a trophic response for the first forty-eight hours after hatching."
Definition: stimulating growth? the meanings I found all had to do with nutrition...

Gudgeon- "It looked to me like some green greasy gudgeon of the Limpopo..."
Definition: A small eurasian freshwater fish related to the carp and used for bait

Cytologist- "Dr. Yamashina, the well-known Japanese cytologist and ornithologist, has proposed a new theory about these birds."
Definition: one who studies the structure, formation and function of cells

Welter- "Sir David carefully unlocked the cabinet, reached in, and abstracted from the welter a small package wrapped in a sheet of newspaper."
Definition: a confused mass or jumble

Fatuously- "... the birds will swim upstream, as it were, into the breeze, curious to see the dog, and led along by the fatuously tame mallards."
Definition: unreal, delusive

I started doing a new thing with my discovered words this week. Every time I jotted down a word on my notepaper, I also wrote next to it what I thought the word meant. I found that more often than not, I already had a pretty good idea, sometimes it was a word I'd run into before. The ones I share with you here are words I totally had no idea on, or the definition was a lot more specific than what I guessed. Happy reading!


  1. I love your idea of guessing what the word means! I think a lot of people don't look up new words because they think they've figured it out. Thanks for playing along today.

  2. Ewww, caruncular is yucky. But I like welter.

  3. It's amazing how much you can get just taking the word in context. I try to do that but sometimes I have absolutely no idea. Unfortunately I'm too lazy to write down words or look them up at this point. I used to carry a pocket dictionary with me all over the place.

  4. You know, I really ought to do this, as I realize so often I just guess at the meanings of words because of context. I think I knew what fatuously meant, but now I know I was wrong!

    Also, I've given you an award--come by and check it out: http://tiny.cc/3OU2R

    Yes, because you are awesome :)

  5. Bermudaonion- I used to do that all the time- just guess and keep reading. Now I realize half the time I guessed wrong!

    Jenny- isn't it? Every time I came across the word in text, even though I knew it meant the bird's bald head, I kept thinking of some cancerous disease...

    Trish- Yeah, half of the time I'm pretty close to the mark. And some other times I'm wayyy off!

    Gentle Reader- Thanks for the award! That's so cool.

  6. Cytologist actually makes sense... like cytoplasm. And gudgeon just sounds like a fun word to use in a sentence.

  7. Gudgeon made me think of a weapon, a heavy club. But of course that didn't fit the sentence, I figured it was some kind of ugly fish or eel.

  8. I agree, it's a great idea to try to guess the meaning of words before you look them up. I think I'm going to start doing that too. All your words were new to me except for welter!


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