Words from my reading

A few fun words that were new to me this week:

sententiously, adv In a manner characterized by moralizing in a pompous or affected way; with striking brevity
page 92, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“‘The ev-en-ing-star,’ he said in English, slowly and somewhat sententiously, then relapsed into Spanish. ‘You see the little star beside, Padre? Indians call him the guide.'”

naïf, adj Naive or ingenuous
page 93, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“Jacinto was never, by any chance, naïf; he was never taken by surprise.”
I guessed naive, and I was right!

Gorse shrub

gorse, n A yellow-flowered shrub of the pea family, the leaves of which are modified to form spines
page 94, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“The sandy soil of the plain had a light sprinkling of junipers, and was splotched with masses of blooming rabbit brush, — that olive-coloured plant that grows in high waves like a tossing sea, at this season covered with a thatch of bloom, yellow as gorse, or orange like marigolds.”

loggia, n A gallery or room with one or more open sides, especially one that forms part of a house and has one side open to the garden
page 102, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“Built upon the north-east corner of the cloister the Bishop found the loggia — roofed, but with open sides, looking down on the white pueblo and the tawny rock, and over the wide plain below.”

legations, pl n Diplomatic ministers
page 107, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“The Laguna Indians were constantly sending legations to Acoma to negotiate terms at which they could rent the holy picture, but Friar Baltazar had warned them never to let it go.”

ravished, n [Archaic] Seized and carried off by force
page 123, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“It was from here, the story went, that they set forth in the spring on their ill-fated search for the seven golden cities of Quivera, taking with them slaves and concubines ravished from the Pecos people.”
I was familiar with the other two definitions — fill with intense delight and rape but I didn’t know this one.

kivas, pl n Chambers, built wholly or partially underground, used by male Pueblo Indians for religious rights
page 127, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“Within stood a wooden ladder, like that used in kivas, and down this he easily made his way to the floor.”

florid, adj Having a red or flushed complexion; elaborately or excessively intricate or complicated
page 140, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“It was so unusual that he would be glad to see it again; a high, narrow forehead, brilliant yellow eyes set deep in strong arches, and full, florid cheeks, — not blank areas of smooth flesh, as in Anglo-Saxon faces, but full of muscular activity, as quick to change with feeling as any of his features.”
I should have known this one already.

More great words on my Words from my reading page. Last week’s words were from this book too.

Review of the book cited here:
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

What new words have you found lately?

7 responses to “Words from my reading

  1. Willa Cather’s O Pioneers is one of my all time favorite books, such a beautifully heartbreaking story. I haven’t read The Archbishop though. I’ll have to add that to my list.

  2. Archbishop seems to be a goldmine of new words. Hope it didn’t break up the reading too much. This is one of Cather’s that I need to re-read.

  3. You always find great words! I’ve heard of a gorse bush, but never knew what it looked like.

  4. This is actually a really great idea. I can remember the first time I read Jane Eyre in 4th grade, pronouncing rendezvous exactly the way it looks. It was years later I actually made the connection with the pronunciation ron-day-voo. I felt like such an idiot. That and hors d’ ouvres, which I still can’t spell correctly.

  5. I love that you make a list of new words. I had an opposite experience this week–I realized lately I’ve read “down” and my vocab has really suffered. Time to start branching out and read something besides fourth grade fluff. Which I love…

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