Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday: Year of Wonders III

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.

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

I should mention that some people in the comments have found my list of words intimidating and I worry they won't pick up the book because of them. I'd say 90% of these words are easily decipherable based on context, and the rest are either figure-out-able on the second mention, or it isn't really all that important to know exactly what they mean. I didn't actually look up any of these words WHILE reading the book, only after when putting these posts together. And don't worry - this isn't the last one! More words to come next week...

bings p. 65
"the land all chewed up by the miners, their stowes like scaffolds upon the moors, and their bings like weedy molehills interrupting the pale mauve tide of the heather."
a heap or pile.

louring p. 65
"Gray is the sky color here, the dove-breast clouds louring so upon the hilltops that sometimes you feel you could just reach up and bury your hands in their softness."
(esp of the sky, weather, etc) to be overcast, dark, and menacing

sillion p. 86
"And from there I could not hear the rhythmic swish and thump of the sexton's shoveling or see the raw sillion laid open to receive the body of another neighbor."
The thick, voluminous, and shiny soil turned over by a plow

hirsel p. 87
"I believe I might have gone on so, given up to grief and confusion if it had not been for a hirsel from my flock losing itself upon the moors."
The entire stock on a farm or stock under the charge of a shepherd.

adit p. 89
"'Aye!' yelled another, and soon they were dragging Mem, who seemed near insensible from beatings, toward the adit of the flooded mine."
(Mining.) a nearly horizontal passage leading into a mine.

assizes p. 96
"...no gaol in the parish would consent to hold them until the next assizes."
a trial session, civil or criminal, held periodically in specific locations in England, usually by a judge of a superior court.

clough p. 96
"By the following Sunday a mere five of the dozen who'd been at the clough that night were well enough to put on the penitents' garb and go barefoot to church to make their prayers for forgiveness."
dialect - a gorge or narrow ravine

lapwing p. 101
"Do we not find Satan like a lapwing crying before us with enticement and vainglory...?"
a large Old world plover, Vanellus vanellus, having a long, slender, upcurved crest, an erratic, flapping flight, and a shrill cry.

masty p. 112
"The colonel was a masty man, but Mr Mompellion was a full head taller...."
Full of mast; abounding in acorns, etc.

graver p. 116
"It was a still morning and the ringing of sledge on graver carried like a bell, all the way back to the village."
any of various tools for chasing, engraving, etc., as a burin.

descry p. 124
"It was a chill morning, and a moist fog hung low in the valley, so it was difficult to descry exactly what was in the cart edging its slow way up the hill...."
to see (something unclear or distant) by looking carefully; discern; espy

branks p. 130
"Someone fetch me a branks to muzzle this scold!"
Sometimes, brank. a device consisting of a headpiece with a flat, iron bit to restrain the tongue, formerly used to punish scolds. (see picture)


Margot said...

All these new words won't keep me from picking up the book as I've been wanting to read Geraldine Brooks for quite some time. But I can't help noticing there sure are a lot of new words.

Lisa said...

New words would never keep me from picking up a book - in fact, they'd be a good reason to start it!

My words are here.

bermudaonion said...

These are all new to me. I have to admit that I was a little intimidated, but can handle it if I can figure the words out from their context. That branks looks awfully evil to me!