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Wondrous Words Wednesday

July 15, 2009


Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.  Feel free to join in the fun.  (Don’t forget to leave a link in your comment if you’re participating.)

All of my words this week come from April & Oliver by Tess Callahan.

1.  pellucid – “She felt a desire to touch the milky, pellucid scar, but knew enough not to.”

Pellucid means admitting maximum passage of light without diffusion or distortion.

2.  merganser – “In the mirror, she sees Bernadette staring up at the stuffed merganser with cigarette holes in its wings, her forehead tense.”

Since wings were mentioned, I guessed that a merganser is a type of bird – it is actually any of various fish eating, diving ducks.

3.  rondos – “Wind groans against the side of the house, and Oliver’s rondos rise in her mind, circling there as they have all night .”

A rondo is an instrumental composition typically with a refrain recurring four times in the tonic and with three couplets in contrasting keys.

4. plangent – “The surf echoes in her apartment, plangent as trains.”

Plangent means having a loud reverberating sound.

What new words have you discovered lately?

28 Comments leave one →
  1. July 15, 2009 7:06 am

    Very nice set of new words. I like how I get the flavor of the book just from the words.

    You can find my new words at Joyfully Retired. I’m hosting a book blog tour today so scroll through my review first to my Wondrous Words.

  2. July 15, 2009 7:40 am

    Great words. I would have trouble remembering them to use in my everyday language though. Perhaps I need to participate in this to widen my vocabulary.

  3. July 15, 2009 8:00 am

    no way! I was just about to post mine and I have plangent, too! It was in Olive Kitteridge.

  4. July 15, 2009 8:33 am

    Poor merganser!

  5. July 15, 2009 8:49 am

    I like this – words rarely known, not often used.
    I did know one – merganser – as it relates to a duck, anyway.

  6. July 15, 2009 8:59 am

    New words! Everybody loves new words. It’s a writer’s equivalent of fancy high heels.

    Straight From Hel

  7. July 15, 2009 9:43 am

    Great words…I will have to try to remember these when I read April and Oliver. My words are here:

  8. July 15, 2009 9:54 am

    I wonder if I could apply plangent to my grandson. Hmmm. . . . .

  9. July 15, 2009 10:17 am

    Pellucid was familiar to me, but I didn’t know its meaning was so precise. And I like plangent. I want to find a way to use it. My new words are here.

  10. July 15, 2009 11:13 am

    Merganser is the only one I know because my husband is a duck-hunter. And my daughter is a duck-raiser. But they get along fine. 🙂

    My words are here.

  11. July 15, 2009 11:30 am

    I knew merganser and I knew that rondo was a musical term, but now I know them more precisely. Good words!

    My words are here.

  12. avisannschild permalink
    July 15, 2009 12:27 pm

    I’ve played rondos on the piano!

    I’ve come across plangent before and I thought it had a plaintive connotation… I just looked it up on Wikipedia and they define it as “having a loud, mournful sound,” so I guess I was right!

    My words are here:

  13. July 15, 2009 12:43 pm

    Meant to ask last week – is there a common dictionary everybody is using for this meme?

  14. avisannschild permalink
    July 15, 2009 12:50 pm

    Michael, the answer is no. I generally use my Canadian Oxford, but there are lots of words I have to look up online. Other folks just use online dictionaries. (Kathy, I hope you don’t mind me answering this question!)

  15. July 15, 2009 1:19 pm

    I have finally done it! My first Wondrous Wednesday post is up. I think it’s a wonderful feature that makes you pay more attention to the words you’re reading.

  16. July 15, 2009 2:35 pm

    I’m totally digging “plangent” regarding the waves as I’m headed to the beach, soon. Ah, I can hear the ocean already!

  17. July 15, 2009 2:42 pm

    This is such a great idea! I just posted my first Wondrous Words on my blog

  18. July 15, 2009 3:51 pm

    There is something about discovering new words that is a lot of fun. I am enjoying reading the answers to this meme as I find it is actually expanding my vocabularly. Which, I guess is the point…

    Great words!


  19. July 15, 2009 4:28 pm

    I think your words go to show just how poetic Ms. Callahan’s writing is.

  20. July 15, 2009 7:52 pm

    I’m so glad that you listed these words because I’m getting this book from the library soon!!

  21. July 15, 2009 8:02 pm

    Interesting words. I have never heard of those either. I hope to get a chance to read that book as well. Here is my link:

  22. July 15, 2009 8:19 pm

    Here’s mine this week. :]

    From your words, I really like “rondos”. It even sounds interesting.

  23. Carol permalink
    July 15, 2009 11:00 pm

    My week has been horribly busy, but my post is up, too. Rondo was the only one of yours I was familiar with.

  24. July 16, 2009 12:26 am

    Great list of words… I love how you do this. It really gives me a sense of how the language of the book would flow.

  25. July 16, 2009 7:52 am

    Interesting word choices this week. I love reading these posts.


  26. July 16, 2009 10:16 am

    I only have one word this week, so I didn’t create a post for it.

    skittle – 1. a pin used in the game of skittles 2. a game played with usually nine wooden pins set up at the end of an alley to be bowled down usually with wooden balls or a wooden disc

    Also, I have an award for you here.

  27. July 16, 2009 11:13 am

    I love it when you have words from a book that I have read. I get to be lazy. A lot of these I went with the context, but it’s good to have confirmation.

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