Words from my reading

I’ve highlighted words from my reading in the past, but it hasn’t been a regular feature on Word Lily. I think I’ll take a stab at making this a semi-regular feature here now, though. We’ll see how it goes.

But first, what should I call this feature?

noumenal, adj derived from the noun, noumenon: In Kantian philosophy, a thing as it is in itself, unable to be known through perception but postulated as the intelligible ground of a phenomenon
page 4, Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith
“But then, on that noumenal evening, sitting with him on her verandah after he had spent the afternoon fixing her tiny white van, she had said yes.”

detumescent, adj derived from the noun, detumescence: To stop swelling, subside
page 45, The Sin Eater by Alice Thomas Ellis
“It had a shrunken, detumescent look, indefinably obscene.”

ambulant, adj Moving about, walking (I was familiar with ambulate and ambulatory, but this form was new to me.)
page 46, The Sin Eater by Alice Thomas Ellis
“It seemed to her that there should be a sort of ambulant hole in the fabric of things, that a space of a shape to accommodate Father should be wandering the house backwards — that death should not be a mere change but a total reversal …”

contumely, n Haughty and contemptuous rudeness; insulting and humiliating treatment or language
page 77, The Sin Eater by Alice Thomas Ellis
“After a while, so strange is the human heart, pilgrims visited her in great numbers especially to be berated, to have contumely poured upon them and to quail beneath her bitter scornful tongue.”

orotund, adj Clear, strong, and deep; resonant: said of the voice. Bombastic or pompous: said of a style of speaking or writing
page 105, The Sin Eater by Alice Thomas Ellis
“Even with the democratisation of Llanelys the pubs fell into distinct categories, Two had retained their pretensions to propriety, with stuffed fish in glass cases, framed recommendations from George Borrow, orotund descriptions of the scenery from Dr Johnson, and leathery lounges for morning coffee.”

Reviews of the books mentioned herein:
Tears of the Giraffe
The Sin Eater


7 responses to “Words from my reading

  1. Lily, just so you know, I’m TOTALLY copying this and giving it to my students. We had a LONG talk the other day about how one expands one’s vocabulary, and they all admitted that they just read over words they don’t understand. Gah.

    PLEASE make this a regular feature. I have no idea what you should call it – what’s wrong with “words from my reading” – but please keep doing it.

    I’m all excited that I already knew what “contumely” meant; it’s in Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” spiel, and I teach that fairly regularly. Yay, Me! (oh, and I knew “ambulant,” too, but I don’t know that I’d ever encountered the other words before. I feel smarter this morning – THANK you!)

  2. I just started a new meme today – Wondrous Words Wednesday – with this same topic and you’re welcome to join in the fun.

  3. It’s amazing how many words I’ve just skipped over through the years.

  4. I remember being so happy when I read that part in Tears of the Giraffe….but I also no that I had no idea what that word meant!

  5. Yes, that was quite the happy passage in Tears of the Giraffe, wasn’t it, Jo-Jo?

  6. I love this feature and enjoin you, beseech you to make this regular. Thanks for the vocab romp – delightful!

  7. Pingback: Words from my reading II « Word Lily

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