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Wondrous Words Wednesday

January 12, 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.  If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post, and come back to add your link to Mr. Linky!

All of my words this week came from The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis.

1. crosier – “Nearby stood a marble statue, slightly larger than life, of Gennaro in full regalia, two fingers of one hand lifted in blessing, a crosier resting in the crook of his arm.”

A crosier is a staff resembling a shepherd’s crook carried by bishops and abbots as a symbol of office.


2. merlon – “Charles had valued protection over elegance: each corner of the castle which he called the Maschio Angiono, the Angevin Keep, was reinforced by vast cylindrical towers, their toothy merlons jutting against the sky .”

I thought I knew this one from the context, and looked it up and discovered that I was right.  A merlon is any of the solid intervals between crenellations of a battlement.


3. declension – “As we passed by the classroom, I solemnly began the declension of our current favourite verb.”

I thought declension might be similar to conjugate, but I was wrong.  Declension means a noun, adjective, pronoun inflection especially in some prescribed order of the forms. I have to admit that I didn’t really understand declension after reading that definition, but this article in Wikipedia helped clear it up a little.


Have you discovered any new words lately?

30 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2011 4:58 am

    I am reading THE HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES right now and am getting much amusement from reading complicated sentences aloud to Daniel and then telling him the meaning in simple English. Hawthorne’s language is very ornate!

  2. January 12, 2011 6:08 am

    The word declension brings back memories of first year Latin. Yes, conjugate means the changes in a verb for person or tense:

    I am
    You are
    He is

    Declension is for nouns, and I dimly remember each noun had probably five forms: nominative, accusative and more, including the dreaded ablative absolute (don’t ask). We don’t decline much in English (with nouns, anyway), but remnants of declension remain in the pronouns:

    Bob sees Bill eat Joes’ lunch becomes He sees Him eat His lunch, with three different forms of the pronoun he.

    Why do I have to tell you all of this. It is a tribute to Miss Williams, my Latin teacher. They don’t make teachers like her any more.

  3. Veens permalink
    January 12, 2011 6:45 am

    I didnot know any as usual 🙂

  4. January 12, 2011 7:10 am

    Wow, a bookish meme I like.
    Great job.

  5. January 12, 2011 7:14 am

    Wow, thanks for “merlon.” I never would have thought about those spaces having names. What a great bit of info!

  6. January 12, 2011 7:21 am

    Thats weird. I thought I knew declension too. I like merlon. Thanks for including the words in a sentence, I think I might check this book out. Heres my www:

  7. January 12, 2011 7:26 am

    Wow these are really obscure! Perfect scrabble words. Thanks for the picture describing merlon — it helps a lot!

  8. kaye permalink
    January 12, 2011 8:13 am

    Declension sounded so familiar but if I had to come up with a definition on my own, I’d be stumped. It’s been a long time since these ancient brain cells took English classes! Good words this week, Kathy.

  9. January 12, 2011 8:29 am

    I’m sure that I read declension recently somewhere, but can’t remember where- I would never have remembered the meaning. I like crosier and merlon too, rather specific words that I may not be able to lob into conversation all that often sadly.

  10. January 12, 2011 8:55 am

    I knew none of these words, so was glad to have your definitions today. I like the word merlin as well, but since there are very few castles around today, I am going to have to struggle to use it in a sentence!

  11. January 12, 2011 9:16 am

    Fun ones this week!

  12. January 12, 2011 9:33 am

    I love the illustration! I love crenelations too, but didn’t know the words for their parts!

  13. January 12, 2011 9:36 am

    I am going to try to remember Merlon next time we are watching a movie that would include those…try to impress my husband! My word is here today:

  14. January 12, 2011 10:08 am

    The definition of declension isn’t that clear, is it? I’ll have to check out Wikipedia. Good words this week.

  15. January 12, 2011 11:21 am

    Thanks to SilverSeason for the trip back to Latin classes with Mrs. Pointer at Monticello Prep School. For Latin III and IV there were only two students so the three of us had a grand time of it.

  16. January 12, 2011 11:46 am

    Merlon! Isn’t that funny to know the word crenellation and have never heard the word merlon?

  17. January 12, 2011 11:48 am

    Marvelous words, Kathy! What wonderful medieval book are you reading that has these in it? Only knew “declension” & probably had it wrong…
    Thank you!

  18. January 12, 2011 11:56 am

    I certainly did not know about merlon, good to know 🙂

  19. January 12, 2011 12:22 pm

    Wow — you are really teaching us a thing or two today. I love the graphics!

  20. January 12, 2011 12:23 pm

    Many, many years of Catholic schools you’d think I’d know what a crosier is! I do now! It’s a good crossword clue too! lol
    I had no idea what a merlon was before now. There’s a word for everything. This, too, sounds like a good one for the crosswords! Thank you for the pic, very helpful!
    I’m an english major but I’ve never come across declension. There are too many terms for grammar usage! Thanks for the wikpedia link. I luv Wikpedia!

    My words are posted:
    Amy’s Words
    I love this meme!

  21. Karen Montgomery permalink
    January 12, 2011 12:43 pm

    Thanks for the words since I did take an intro class in liguistics and did a research paper in high school on castles, but I have forgotten some things so, it is good to get a refresher course. By the way, my words are here:

  22. January 12, 2011 1:03 pm

    Declension is very interesting but then I also liked your explanation and picture of merlon.

  23. January 12, 2011 4:02 pm

    Diagrams even! cool.

  24. January 12, 2011 4:14 pm

    Excellent wondrous words this week, all new to me (but they sound like words I am already familiar with). 🙂

  25. January 12, 2011 10:13 pm

    My husband studies Greek and Latin and declension is a HUGE part of his vocabulary; I admit, too, that I have some sort of innate understand now, but if forced to explain it out loud I would most definitely fail. Big time.


  26. January 12, 2011 10:47 pm

    Very glad to know merlon! Funy to know the word for the parts that poke up but not the parts that poke down in a crenellation. I have a bunch from Victorian NYC this week:

  27. January 13, 2011 1:29 am

    Declension was the only one I knew this time. I popped over to the wikipedia article and it made me nostalgic for my linguistics classes in college. I love grammar! If someone would have told me in the fifth grade (when I had a D in English because of our grammar segment) that I would someday love grammar I would have thought they were crazy.

    The funny thing is that I love to study grammar, but I’m pretty sure my spoken and written grammar could use some work. Theory is so much easier than real life application of the rules! 🙂

  28. January 13, 2011 10:35 pm

    I always thought declension had to do with conjugating, too. I think I’ll just keep thinking that…it’s less confusing!

  29. January 14, 2011 11:44 am

    wow, I knew TWO this week…having no idea what merlon was.
    But I have seen many a crosier.

  30. January 16, 2011 10:46 am

    These 3 words are all new to me and merlon sounds like it was inspired by Medieval magical wizard Merlin.

    Love alliteration… merlon merlin melons, etc.

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