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Wondrous Words Wednesday

June 25, 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

This week’s words came from Let the Tornado Come by Rita Zoey Chin.

1. excoriate – “But by then my stepmother had left my father — after three years of marriage, my father finally snapped and beat her until she clawed her way out of the house and ran barefoot in her nightgown in the February snow — and my sister had gone back to live with our mother, and my father walked around bereft and excoriated and mean, and most days I felt like I was living inside a sarcophagus.”

I think the author is using this word figuratively to mean abraded.


2. grist – “I had needed her for years, needed her with the grist of my being, with the stake of my feet on the earth.”

I found several definitions for grist and none of them matched what I thought the author was trying to say.  These are the definitions I found on Merriam-Webster.  Which one do you think fits the sentence?

1 a :  grain or a batch of grain for grinding
   b :  the product obtained from a grist of grain including the flour or meal and the grain offals
2 :  a required or usual amount
3 :  matter of interest or value forming the basis of a story or analysis
4:  something turned to advantage or use —used especially in the phrase grist for one’s mill


1. piaffe; passage – “And though we weren’t piaffing and passaging around the arena, I rode him on my own, and we did okay.”

Piaffe means a horse is in a collected and cadenced trot; in place or nearly in place.

Passage is a highly elevated and powerful and trot.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

14 Comments leave one →
  1. June 25, 2014 4:37 am

    Wonderful words, I like grist. Have a fun weekend.

  2. June 25, 2014 7:00 am

    At first I read the title of the book as Let The Tomato Come, and I thought, well no wonder the author uses words in different ways! LOLOL

  3. June 25, 2014 9:10 am

    As to the meaning of grist, I think it’s number 1b. The author seems to be saying from the core of my being, therefore, the sum total of one grain that is ground and makes up the larger product, flour. It’s a stretch. I think the author just should have used another word besides grist.

  4. Beth Hoffman permalink
    June 25, 2014 9:57 am

    For the first time in months, I knew all your words! Time for chocolate … lol

  5. Patty permalink
    June 25, 2014 10:56 am

    Grist is confusing…but I think I agree with Margot. Grist just made me hungry for grits! Cheesy grits…I must be a Southerner at heart!

  6. June 25, 2014 10:58 am

    I like the word grist, and it does go with the sentence. Even without knowing its meaning, the feeling of what the character was trying to say came out strong.

  7. June 25, 2014 12:12 pm

    I always thought excoriate was basically to verbally rake somebody over the coals. Grist makes some sense to me. I see it as a foundation. The horse words – no clue.

  8. June 25, 2014 2:43 pm

    Interesting group of words today. I’m not sure about grist; I see what the author’s saying but don’t know if it’s the best word choice.

  9. June 25, 2014 3:36 pm

    Hmm. I like meaning number 3 for grist – a matter of interest or value forming the basis of a story. Good discussion here!

  10. June 25, 2014 3:40 pm

    A lot of meanings for grist. I think it’s number two.

  11. June 25, 2014 3:49 pm

    I didn’t know any of these words. While I agree that grist probably wasn’t the correct word to use, I also think it feels kind of right in the sentence as we all understand what he is trying to say which is more of a feeling than any one word could sum up.

  12. June 25, 2014 4:56 pm

    Grist makes me think of something I might have in my teeth. LOL! But now I know why they’re called gristmills!

  13. June 25, 2014 6:53 pm

    Great words, Kathy, from your book! I only knew the middle word this week.

  14. bookingmama permalink
    June 26, 2014 2:20 pm

    All new to me! I’m not sure what definition of grist is the best.

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