Jul 22, 2009

wondrous words and more

All my words this week came from reading Irving Stone's account of Darwin's travels aboard the Beagle, which I am beginning to find tiresome. I've gotten through almost 300 pages of The Origin and find myself putting down the book, reading another one entire, and then wondering if I want to come back to it...

Inveterate- "... both the Darwin and Wedgewood families had good libraries and were inveterate readers, but for enjoyment rather than education."
Definition: habitual, or well-established

Litmus- "... he has a brain in that large skull of his, not only for sopping up knowledge like litmus paper, but for speculative theory."
Definition: a paper that turns red in acidic solutions and blue in alkaline; derived from lichens

Redoubtable- "Even our redoubtable Wickham gets seasick in smaller boats."
Definition: worthy of resepect or honor; inspiring awe or fear

Desideratum- "Size is not the ultimate desideratum."
Definition: something considered very neccessary

Davit- "Twenty-five-foot whaleboats hung from the Beagle's quarter davits..."
Definition: a small crane that suspends over the side of a ship for hoisting objects

Holystone- "It was the midshipmen who caught the blast of his temper if a single spot of the deck had not been holystoned to a high gloss..."
Definition: a soft sandstone used to scour the deck of a ship

Argot- "He enjoyed listening to the argot of the sailors, gradually coming to understand the meaning of such terms as yar, swabber, wind-bound in a port..."
Definition: slang or jargon used by a particular group of people

Factotum- "The party included a young friend of the Scotsman named Gosling, a Brazilian guide from the interior; a black boy to serve as general factotum."
Definition: a person employed to do all kinds of work, mainly as an assistant

for more wondrous words, visit Bermudaonion's Weblog

On another note, I've been rather neglectful of responding to comments and such because we have a houseguest this week (old friend of my husband's) and being hostess diverts my time and attention away from some of my favorite things (reading and blogging). A few days ago Jules so kindly gave me the Bookworms Award for Bookfriends. I just love the button for this award, which is for those book bloggers we truly appreciate. I followed the trail of this award back to another book blog new to me, Miscellaneous Mumblings.

I'd like to pass this award on to some of the book blogs I've more recently discovered. I don't know them very well yet, but I do know they share a love of books with me, and all the rest of you! This goes to: Read Quoi?, YA Fabulous, Under the Dresser, You GOTTA Read This, and Words by Annie.


  1. That is a fantastic list of words! I particularly like argot and inveterate! I've always wondered how "The Origin" was. Your the first person I know who has read it. It has always intimidated me a bit. I guess for that reason I should read it!

  2. Thanks for the award!


  3. Thank you so much for the award! I have added your blog to my list...I love your kitty. (I know, I've said that before!)

  4. You found some great words. I knew litmus because Vance needed litmus paper for a science project years ago and I had to go to a little bitty shop in a bad part of town to buy it. Congratulations on your award!


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