Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday: The Age of Innocence

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy aka Bermuda Onion where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

pen-wipers (6)
A cloth, or other material, for wiping off or cleaning ink from a pen
"Gigantic pansies, considerably larger than the roses, and closely resembling the floral pen-wipers made by female parishioners for fashionable clergymen, sprang from the moss beneath the rose-trees; and here and there a daisy grafted on a rose-branch flowered with a luxuriance prophetic of Mr. Luther Burbank's far-off prodigies."

enfiladed (18)
an axial arrangement of doorways connecting a suite of rooms with a vista down the whole length of the suite
"Then the house had been boldly planned with a ball-room, so that, instead of squeezing through a narrow passage to get to it (as at the Chiveres') one marched solemnly down a vista of enfiladed drawing-rooms (the sea-green, the crimson and the bouton d'or), seeing from afar the many-candled lustres reflected in the polished parquetry, and beyond that the depths of a conservatory where camellias and tree-ferns arched their costly foliage over seats of black and gold bamboo."

aigrettes (19)
a plume or tuft of feathers, esp. the back plume of any of various herons, arranged as a head ornament
"Couples were already gliding over the floor beyond: the light of the wax candles fell on revolving tulle skirts, on girlish heads wreathed with modest blossoms, on the dashing aigrettes and ornaments of the young married women's coiffures, and on the glitter of highly glazed shirt-fronts and fresh glacé gloves."

propinquities (25)
nearness in place; proximity
"That was how women with lovers lived in the wicked old societies, in apartments with all the rooms on one floor, and all the indecent propinquities that their novels described."

sacerdotal (47)
of priests; priestly
"...the habit of a life-time, and the attitude of her friends and relations, had led her to consider Mr. van der Luyden's least gesture as having an almost sacerdotal importance."

adipose (135)
fatty; consisting of, resembling, or relating to fat
"...and when he told her that he had deserted the office without leave, and rushed down to St. Petersburg simply because he wanted to see May, she gave an adipose chuckle and patted his knee with her puff-ball hand."

tippets (145)
a scarf, usually of fur or wool, for covering the neck, or the neck and shoulders, and usually having ends hanging down in front
"She followed the Marchioness into the hall, saw her fitted into a miscellaneous heap of overshoes, shawls and tippets..."

curvetting (165)
Dressage. A leap of a horse from a rearing position, in which it springs up with the hind legs outstretched as the forelegs descend
"...and Mrs. Welland's chestnuts, with big white favours on their frontlets, curvetting and showing off at the far end of the canvas tunnel."

gentian-bed (173)
any of several plants of the genera Gentiana, Gentianella, and Gentianopsis, having usually blue, or sometimes yellow, white, or red, flowers, as the fringed gentian of North America, or Gentiana lutea, of Europe
"... and May, her feet in a gentian-bed, had smiled cheerfully..."

tutelary (174)
having the position of guardian or protector of a person, place, or thing
"...but since the lines of her character, though so few, were on the same fine mould as her face, she became the tutelary divinity of all his old traditions and reverences."

fol-de-rol (189)
mere nonsense; foolish talk or ideas
"Such fol-de-rol, her not coming for the summer; but I gave up arguing with young people about fifty years ago."

chamfered (192)
a cut that is made in wood or some other material, usually at a 45° angle to the adjacent principal faces
"They drove down Bellevue Avenue and turned in between the chamfered wooden gate-posts surmounted by cast-iron lamps which marked the approach to the Welland villa."

herdic (208)
a low-hung carriage with two or four wheels, having the entrance at the back and the seats at the sides
"He waited, pacing up and down before the herdic."

sunder (210)
to become separated; part
"...but now that she was beside him, and they were drifting forth into this unknown world, they seemed to have reached the kind of deeper nearness that a touch may sunder."

vaticinations (228)
a prophesy
"Archer had been wont to smile at these annual vaticinations of his mother's..."

carcel (232)
A light standard much used in France, being the light from a Carcel lamp of stated size and construction consuming 42 grams of colza oil per hour with a flame 40 millimeters in height. Its illuminating power is variously stated at from 8.9 to 9.6 British standard candles
"... and the ladies, on this conclusion, gathered up their train to seek the carcel globes of the drawing-room, while Archer and Ms. Sillerton Jackson withdrew to the Gothic library."

valetudinarian (248)
a person who is excessively concerned about his or her poor health or ailments
"But his eminence as a valetudinarian now made him an object of engrossing interest, and Mrs. Mingott issued an imperial summons to him to come and compare diets as soon as his temperature permitted."

efflorescent (295)
efflorescing; blossoming
"...the sofas and armchairs of pale brocade were cleverly grouped about little plush tables densely covered with silver toys, porcelain animals and efflorescent photograph frames; and tall rosy-shaded lamps shot up like tropical flowers among the palms."

philippic (299)
any speech or discourse of bitter denunciation
"The talk, as usual, had veered around to the Beauforts, and even Mr. van der Luyden and Mr. Selfridge Merry, installed in the honorary armchairs tacitly reserved for them, paused to listen to the younger man's philippic."

factitious (302)
not spontaneous or natural; artificial; contrived
"But there she stood, pale and drawn, yet radiating the factitious energy of one who has passed beyond fatigue."

effulgent (317)
shining forth brilliantly; radiant.
"Suddenly, before an effulgent Titian, he found himself saying: 'But I'm only fifty-seven-' and then he turned away."


bermudaonion said...

Of all those words, I only knew two, and one of them was adipose, I'm sad to say. I only knew that one because of a friend who's a nurse. Thanks for playing along!

B said...

I'd like a tippet :)