Words from my reading

A few new to me words this week:

glaucous, adj Bluish-green or yellowish-green; in Botany, covered in a pale greenish bloom that can be rubbed off, as grapes, plums, cabbage leaves, etc.
page 242, Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
“Even in the side streets there was evidence of the new regime; twice they were obliged to shelter as police lorries thundered past them laden with glaucous prisoners.”

panegyrics, pl n Formal speeches or pieces of writing praising a person or event; high or hyperbolic praise, laudation; tribute
page 251, Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
“Oratory pleased them, whatever its subject; sermons, educational lectures, political programmes, panegyrics of the dead or living, appeals for charity — all had the same soporific effect.”

invidiously, adv Such as to excite ill will, odium, or envy, giving offense; giving offense by discriminating unfairly
page 281, Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
“Discussion had raged for some days; every suggested economy seemed to strike invidiously at individual members of the household.”

cumbrously, adv cumbersomely
page 290, Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
“No sound broke the peace of the evening save, in the elms that stood cumbrously on every side, the crying of the rooks and, not unlike it but nearer at hand, directly it seemed over Mr. Salter’s head, a strong baritone decanting irregular snatches of sacred music.”

squiffy, adj Colloquial drunk, intoxicated
page 295, Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
“‘The man was squiffy,’ said Aunt Anne.'”

saltire, n A bearing like a Saint Andrew’s cross, formed by a bend and a bend sinister crossing [example: The X shape found on flags]
page 301, Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
“‘An early corruption of saltire, which no doubt he bears on his coat.'”

baize, n Chestnut brown; a thick woolen cloth made to resemble felt and often dyed green, used to cover billiard tables, etc.
page 305, Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
“He was led upstairs, down long lamp-lit corridors, through doors of faded baize, to Nannie Bloggs’s room.”

turbot, n Any of various flounders highly regarded as food
page 312, Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
“He had bought them and bound them, hand and foot, with consommé and cream of chicken, turbot and saddle, duck and péche Melba, and afterwards when the cigars had been furtively pocketed and the brandy glasses filled with the horrible brown compound for which Lord Copper was paying two pounds a bottle, there came the golden hour when he rose to speak at whatever length he liked and on whatever subject, without fear of rivalry or interruption.”

[M]alacca cane, adj A lightweight walking stick of rattan, often mottled brown [Malacca: A state in Malaysia in West Peninsular Malaysia, on the strait of Malacca]
page 319, Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
“Two thousand a year, shady little gentlemen’s chambers, the opportunity for endless reminiscence; sunlit morning saunterings down St. James’s Street between hatter and bootmaker and club; feline prowlings after dark; a buttonhole, a bowler hat with a curly brim, a clouded malacca cane, a kindly word to commissionaires and cab-drivers.”

pabulum, n Food or sustenence; nourishment for the mind
page 11, Best Intentions by Emily Listfield
“There is an unmistakable testosterone-induced anxiety — has anyone gotten a juicy story he has somehow missed? — and poorly concealed relief that there is only the usual stock market pabulum and speculative opinion.”

neurasthenic, adj Having a former category of mental disorder, including such symptoms as irritability, fatigue, weakness, anxiety, and localized pains without apparent physical causes, thought to result from weakness or exhaustion of the nervous system
page 25, Best Intentions by Emily Listfield
“For years I’ve pictured a spindly, neurasthenic girl in a moth-eaten sweater talking about Kierkegaard while she fucked my future husband.”

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

Reviews of books cited here:
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
Best Intentions by Emily Listfield

What new words have you found lately?


5 responses to “Words from my reading

  1. I think Scoop sounds like a tough read, but I love the word squiffy.

  2. Wow – you must have had the dictionary open all week long! Lots of new words there.

    • Margot, Bermuda: It really isn’t a tough read. I know I had a lot of words from it, but I hope that doesn’t put you off reading Scoop if you thought you’d enjoy it otherwise! I quite liked it, regardless.

  3. You found a lot of wonderful words. I do know a few of those!

    Here are my words

  4. The only word I have ever read/heard before on your list was glaucous.

    I have one word this week.

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