Words from my reading

New to me words this week:

détente, n A lessening of tension or hostility
page 112, The Only True Genius in the Family by Jennie Nash
“I had hoped that Bailey could be a bridge between us — a reason for détente.”

biloquist, n A person with power of speaking in two distinct voices
page 15, The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry
“He tweaked organizational rubrics to accommodate the particulars of the case, integrated subsequent reports on the fly, and casually set down for the first time the identities of suspects whose names would recur in Agency files as certain bad dreams recur: Jasper and Josiah Rook, Cleopatra Greenwood, the nefarious biloquist Enoch Hoffman.”

misericord, n A narrow ledge on the underside of a hinged seat, as in a choir stall, designed to support a person standing at rest against the turned-up seat; a dagger used in the Middle Ages for giving the death stroke to a wounded knight
page 56, The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry
“Gold and silver weapons gleamed in their cases, and Unwin knew them each, knew the slim-bladed misericord, the graceful rapier, the double-barreled wheel lock pistol.”
I actually remember this one from watching Bones on TV, but this was the first time I’ve run across it in print, I believe. Oh, and clearly the second definition is intended; they’re so different!

garrote, n A cord, thong, or length of wire for strangling a robbery victim, enemy sentry, etc., in a surprise attack
page 56, The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry
“They were all in the Agency’s index of weapons, though the pages dedicated to such antiquated devices were less useful than those covering the more popular implements of the day: the pistol. the garrote, the cast-iron skillet.”

perscrutation, n A thorough searching, a minute inquiry or scrutiny
page 74, The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry
“Zlatari said, ‘Hell, we should be fair to the new guy,’ and he told Unwin how to trade up: two queries for a single inquiry, two inquiries for a perscrutation, two perscrutations for a catechism, two catechisms for an interrogation, and so on.”

samaras, plural n A dry, one-seeded, winged fruit, as of the maple
page 99, The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry
“The sycamores lining the drive beyond dropped samaras that spun in the rain as they fell.”

oneiric, adj Of or having to do with dreams
page 151, The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry
“Oneiric detection, Moore had whispered to him. In layman’s terms: dream surveillance.”
This one’s pretty well defined in the text itself.

eldritch, adj Strange, unearthly, weird, eerie
page 212, The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry
“Outside, the eldritch light of the carnival had grown brighter, almost fiery, and the rides were chugging and whirling at breakneck speeds. The air smelled of popcorn and fresh sawdust, and the music of the hurdy-gurdy roared.”
This definition, when I found it, disappointed me. I thought it was going to be a color, like two weeks ago, when I had a adjective modifying light.

Reviews of the books cited here:
The Only True Genius in the Family by Jennie Nash coming soon
The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry

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3 responses to “Words from my reading

  1. You’ve found some great words! I like biloquist particularly.

    My words are here.

  2. I wish I was a biloquist – wouldn’t that be fun on the phone? You found a lot of great words.

  3. This week you found some challenging words. I only knew detente.

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