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Wondrous Words Wednesday

November 16, 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 and add your link to Mr. Linky!  All of my words this week come from my Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.

1. heuristic – “Only this time, he was the patient, and it was my heuristic I would invoke.”

Heurestic is an adjective that means involving or serving as an aid to learning, discovery, or problem-solving by experimental and especially trial-and-error methods.


2. glottic – “I heard the muted, glottic, honking cough coming from the infant slung to her back in a shama, papoose fashion.”

Glottic sounded really familiar to me, but I couldn’t define it, so I looked it up.  It means pertaining to the glottis or the tongue. So, what is the glottis?  It’s the elongated space between the vocal chords.


3. tiffin carrier– “She was appreciative of the tiffin carrier of food Almaz and Hema sent for her, but the barrier she put up around herself remained.”

When I came across this sentence, I thought tiffin was the word to look up.  I discovered it means a light midday meal and somehow, that didn’t feel right to me.  I decided to dig a little deeper and discovered that it was actually tiffin carrier I should be looking up.  According to wikipedia, the lunchbox the midday meal is carried in is referred to as a tiffin carrier.  If you search for pictures of tiffin carriers, you’ll see that some of them are pretty elaborate.


Have you come across any new words lately?

34 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2011 6:17 am

    I’m glad to finally know what “heuristic” means! I hear it all the time in sci-fi. “Glottic” I knew, because I’ve studied Arabic, and therefore had to learn how to produce a consonant that requires a “glottal stop” on cue.

  2. November 16, 2011 6:17 am

    Heuristic is one of those words that I can never remember the meaning of. Tiffin carriers are really rather fascinating. There is a great documentary about how they are delivered in India- wives cook lunch for the husbands at work, couriers pic them up, they’re not addressed, but millions of hot dinners are delivered to the right husband each day! It’s astonishing.

  3. November 16, 2011 6:37 am

    I love tiffin carrier! I wonder what Booking Son would say if I told him I had to pack his tiffin carrier this morning.

  4. November 16, 2011 8:24 am

    I feel so happy to have known two of the words today! I was just thinking that Cutting for Stone is a great place to gather words for Wondrous Words Wednesdays!

  5. Eibhlin permalink
    November 16, 2011 8:35 am

    Happy to join you for the first time… but sorry, can’t hang around, I have to go and pack my tiffin carrier for tormorrow!

  6. November 16, 2011 8:46 am

    I was just saying last night I wanted to reread this book! It was so good and I’ve forgotten too much of it!

  7. November 16, 2011 9:03 am

    Glottic is an interesting word. Thanks for sharing!

  8. November 16, 2011 10:06 am

    You stumped me with all three! Great words, Kathy!

  9. November 16, 2011 10:30 am

    I just knew the first one (heuristique) but not the two others ! Some of tiffin carriers are really wonderful.

  10. November 16, 2011 10:59 am

    I especially like the word glottic. It sounds funny!

  11. November 16, 2011 11:09 am

    All new to me today.

  12. November 16, 2011 11:47 am

    I never heard of these, thanks! for sharing them.

  13. November 16, 2011 12:13 pm

    I love the thought of the tiffin carriers. I’d love to see the documentary Louise is talking about. I’ll have to look that up.

  14. November 16, 2011 12:23 pm

    tiffin carrier? Who knew!? Thanks for the lesson 🙂

  15. November 16, 2011 1:25 pm

    Hi Kathy,

    You have mentioned this book a couple of times now and I am eagerly looking forward to your review. I can’t make up my mind whether I would find it interesting or not, although it does sound like an emotional and difficult read.

    I didn’t know the exact meaning of heuristic and I am not sure that would be the word that would immediately spring to my mind if someone was experimenting on me and told me that success would be down to trial or error. It is too nice a word for that, my word would be much more down to earth.

    Great words, as usual and a nice post.

  16. November 16, 2011 3:32 pm

    Wow, I actually knew a couple of your words this time. Never heard of “tiffin carrier” before, but when I looked them up on Google, I discovered I’ve actually got a couple and didn’t know it! It’s good to know what to call them, besides food-holder-thingies.

  17. November 16, 2011 3:35 pm

    I truly must start reading books better, I am sure I come across words I do not know. But I guess I just skip them in my head cos I get the meaning

  18. November 16, 2011 4:47 pm

    I knew I should know the first one, but couldn’t come up with a definition on my own. I knew the second one though thanks to my linguistic studies. 🙂 That last one I never would have guessed.

  19. November 16, 2011 4:56 pm

    I knew heurestic and tiffin carrier (since this is what we used in India and the roots of this word is also Indian). Glottic is new! The tiffin carriers (or dabbawals) of Bombay (now Mumbai) are famed and even now tirelessly and efficiently deliver hot lunches in tiffin boxes to thousands of office goers packed up b someone at their homes.

    • November 16, 2011 4:58 pm

      sorry – heuristic 🙂

      • November 16, 2011 5:00 pm

        and glottic was from ‘Cutting for Stone’ – I missed this word – so a reread is needed.

  20. November 16, 2011 4:57 pm

    Heuristic is one of those words that no matter how many times I see it or read its definition, I always forget its meaning. 😦

  21. November 16, 2011 5:06 pm

    Great words, Kathy and fantastic job looking up tiffin carrier. It’s interesting that tiffin is like lunch but a tiffin carrier is so much more than a lunch box!
    Cutting for Stone had many words I needed to look up!

  22. November 16, 2011 5:08 pm

    I’d never heard or seen a tiffin carrier before! Great words this week, Kathy. 🙂

  23. November 16, 2011 6:45 pm

    I like those tiffin boxes!!

  24. November 16, 2011 6:47 pm

    The first seemed familiar and I likely would have glossed right over the glottic one. I would have guessed bird cage for the last word if I hadn’t read the sentence.

  25. November 16, 2011 7:40 pm

    I have seen those Tiffin carriers before but I had no idea they had a name

  26. November 16, 2011 10:34 pm

    What great words today…I couldn’t have guessed what any of these are!

  27. November 16, 2011 10:53 pm

    where in the world do you find these words?!? fantastic!

  28. kaye permalink
    November 17, 2011 8:09 am

    Tiffin carrier is only familiar to me from reading stories set in India. Heuristic I had no clue about.

  29. November 17, 2011 11:01 am

    I might be able to make use of “glottic” this winter when I hear someone coughing. Heuristic I have seen used many times in books but never seem to remember the definition. Maybe now I will!

  30. November 17, 2011 1:01 pm

    I enjoyed checking out the tiffin carriers. They are much cooler than the old grocery bags I use to transport my lunch!

  31. November 19, 2011 3:15 am

    Ooooh… alas, there’s a word that I know! Heuristic. Haha!

  32. November 19, 2011 9:44 pm

    Very fun – thanks for the link to pictures of the stacked tiffin carriers — I might actually remember that word 🙂

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