Words from my reading

New to me words this week:

obduracy, n, derived from adj obdurate Not easily moved to pity or sympathy, hardhearted; hardened and unrepenting, impenitent; not giving in readily, stubborn, obstinate, inflexible
page 75, Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth
“He strove to let nothing show on his face; from obduracy, from the long habit of restraint; the other would know he had dealt a blow, but he would see no evidence of it, gain no advantage.”

pullulation, n derived from the v pullulate to sprout out, germinate, bud; to breed quickly; to spring up in abundance; teem or swarm
page 104, Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth
“The birds were united; no discord, no dispute were allowed to get in the way — there was simply no time for it; in all that pullulation of creatures not a single second was wasted on acts of aggression; all was harmony and order — no wars, no territorial encroachments, just a never-ending scramble for life.”

mendacious, adj Not truthful, lying or false
page 149, Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth
“Most of the men there had traveled weary miles to attend; they would return home, submit their cautious, inconclusive, mendacious reports — further proof, if proof were needed, of the division and distrust that reigned among the powers of Europe.”

dragoman, n In the Near East, an interpreter or professional guide for travelers
page 150, Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth
“With them was also a dragoman hired through the hotel, a Syrian who spoke French and English as well as his native Arabic; he would be useful in easing the way with small bribes if need be and would know the streets and which ones to keep clear off.”
I knew I should have known this one, it was familiar, but somehow I still felt the need to look it up.

hauteur, n Disdainful pride, haughtiness, snobbery
page 173, Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth
“I was as if she were waiting with an assumption of nonchalance — and this would harden into hauteur if she was pressed too closely — for something, someone, to compel her to frankness, force an admission from her, make her expose herself to damage by declaring it.”
The root word here makes it pretty plain to the eye what this means, but I still wanted to look it up for some reason.

caparisoned, adj, derived from n caparison An ornamented covering for a horse, trappings
page 197, Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth
“He paused again here, to enlarge upon the splendor of the procession, the sumptuous clothes, the richly caparisoned horses, swaying his head and spreading his hands to indicate the pomp of it all.”

diapir, n A dome formation in which the rigid top layers have been split open by pressure from an underlying plastic core
page 210, Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth
“It was no more than a hundred feet in height, but standing here and looking back the way he had come, with the sun’s rays slanting across, he saw beyond any doubt that it was a single unit he had been traversing, a single shape, a diapir.”

Earlier installments of this feature (more great words!).

Reviews of books cited here:
Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth

What new words have you found lately?


7 responses to “Words from my reading

  1. I can honestly say I haven’t heard of one of your words. Hope the book wasn’t too tough.

  2. Holy cow! I’ll remember to keep a dictionary close when I read that book. You found some great words.

  3. This are some great words. I hadn’t heard of pullulation or diapir at all. In my head that word is pronounced “diaper”. Just thought I’d share. 🙂

  4. I really enjoyed these words! I’d heard of some of them, but not all, especially pullulation and diapir. And while I had a vague idea about dragoman, I wouldn’t have been able to define it.

    This is so educational!

    Meanwhile, my words are here.

  5. Wow, lots of new words! I only knew obduracy and hauteur. Pullulation sounds vaguely rude to me!

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