Words from my reading

I need your help with a few new to me words this week:

As promised, this edition is entirely words from Ali Sethi’s The Wish Maker. I didn’t post this last week, because I wanted to wait until after the book’s release so I could verify the quotes in the final edition of the book, but that hasn’t happened. (I normally do this via Amazon’s Search Inside feature, but that feature has not appeared for this book yet, alas.) These quotes are taken from an advanced reader’s copy and may vary from that of the final edition.

Now for that mention of help. I started looking up these words the usual way, in my trusty paper dictionary. It’s a pretty good dictionary, but it’s not unabridged. In the past, when that method has failed (it doesn’t have a word), Google has been my friend. This week, no dice. So, can you help me? Let me know the definition of any of the undefined words below and I’ll add them to my post! I expect at least part of the difficulty stems from spelling variants, but that’s neither here nor there. Are you ready? OK, then. Onward:

milaads, pl n [Some sort of ceremony, since it’s grouped with weddings.]
page 10, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“Then there was a four-page spread on the global community of Muslim women who had all in their own ways resisted the recent American invasion of Iraq, a piece written in an admiring and accessible tone by a Pakistani student at the University of Birmingham, UK; and the last quarter of the magazine was devoted to Society, to photos of people at tea parties and dinner parties, weddings and milaads, the pictures brightened on a computer and accompanied by the names of the subjects, many of whom called in afterward to thank the Women’s Journal team and gave information about upcoming events, the corporate balls and fashion shows that had begun to occur with feverish concentration among the people who, in one of the earlier articles in the Issues section, had been described as ‘the new crop of disconnected elites in Karachi and Lahore.'”

gamlas, pl n Flower pots
page 18, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“It wasn’t clear what he was referring to — he was aggressive once but that was long ago, a thing from childhood, when he had called me a mummy-daddy and tried to shove my head in Daadi’s gamlas.”

maghrib azaan, n Call to evening prayer
page 22, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“It was late already; the maghrib azaan had sounded and the sun had vanished behind the thick, dark trees of a park and left the sky spilled with light.”

dholki, n A pre-wedding celebration with dancing, music, and food
page 23, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“Then we attended a dholki at the groom’s house.”

Women wearing shalwar kameezes and dupattas, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jaipur-India_n001.jpg">image credit Steve Evans</a>

Women wearing shalwar kameezes and dupattas, image credit Steve Evans

dupattas, pl n Long, multi-purpose scarves that are essential to many South Asian women’s suits
page 24, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“Their dupattas were tied like sashes across their torsos and slipped when they bent to clap.”

bhangra, n [Some type of group dance. Characterized by what?]
page 24, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“Then the young men of the clan peformed a rowdy bhangra.”

Kurtakurtas, pl n Loose shirts falling either just above or somewhere below the knees of the wearer, and is worn by both men and women; traditionally worn with loose-fitting salwars, tight-fitting churidars, or wrapped-around dhotis
page 24, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“They wore matching black kurtas and yellow scarves in siphons around their necks, and kicked the air and jabbed their forefingers at the ceiling.”

shalwar kameezes, pl n Traditional dress worn by both women and men in South Asia, the national dress of Pakistan; Salvars or shalvars are loose pajama-like trousers. The legs are wide at the top, and narrow at the bottom. The kameez is a long shirt or tunic. The side seams (known as the chaak) are left open below the waistline, which gives the wearer greater freedom of movement
page 25, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“They began to appear on the lawn after dinner had been served, the girls in long, flowing skirts and short blouses, the boys in dark blazers and shawls over plain shalwar kameezes.”

frangipani flowerfrangipani tree, n The common name of plumeria
page 26, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“Almond-shaped lights appeared on the outside walls, on the frangipani tree at the edge of the lawn and around the pillars in the porch.”

rusks, n Sweet, raised bread or cake toasted in an oven, or baked a second time, after slicing, until browned and crisp
page 33, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“Naseem brought tea and rusks on a tray and sat cross-legged on the carpet.”

channa, n Snakehead fish
page 36, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“I went with Naseem past the ice-lolly man and the man roasting channa in a pit of sand on a cart, and then along the row of parked cars and motorcycles.”

chhalli, n Corn
page 36, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“She was eating a chhalli and had kept the packet of masala with the lime and the other chhalis in her lap.”

zamindar, n A landlord who owns more than 500 acres of arable land in the countryside
page 41, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“He was a zamindar, a landlord who owned more than five hundred acres of arable land in the countryside.”
[Well, that one the text was very helpful with!]

chadars, pl n Loose black robes, each made from a single cloth, worn as a combination head covering, veil and shawl by Muslim women
page 42, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“’We have to wear chadars when we go out, even when we’re sitting in the car.'”

zila, n [From the context, I can deduce that this is probably the word for city or town or village or county, or some similar delineation.]
page 44, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“Later they became politicians; Uncle Fazal had twice won an election to the Provincial Assembly, and had served on zila- and district-level councils that had increased his influence in his home constituency, and among the officers at the local police station, from where inspectors and subinspectors went routinely to his house to pledge their support.”

immiscibly, adv Unmixable
page 45, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“They remained immiscibly old-and-young, virile bodies with aged souls.”

nikah, n The contract between a bride and bridegroom and part of an Islamic marriage, a strong covenant
page 49, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“And Chhoti was married at the end of spring in a small nikah ceremony, an intimate affair with just the family present, none of the shoo-shaan of vulgar weddings.”

larstick, adj [Help, please!]
page 56, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“’Thank you, but no,’ said Mr. Quagmire with a sad smile, and found his cane among the folded umbrellas, tapped it steadingly on the floor and went away on what had once been long, larstick legs.”

zuhr azaan, n Call to noon prayer
page 58, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“A crow came and settled hopefully on the bench, and was paid no attention, and hopped about, and finally fled as the zuhr azaan sounded from beyond the trees.”

avaam, n [I’m really curious to learn what this word means.]
page 60, The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
“My mother said Naseem had those views because she was a member of the avaam, the largest group of people in the country.”

The Wish Maker had more great words than this, but I was traveling, out of my normal element, and I didn’t get them all written down.

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

What new words have you found lately?

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12 responses to “Words from my reading

  1. Wow! I think that book would be way over my head. I can’t help you with any of the words and I tired wiki-ing some of them. I’ll try to remember to check back later to see if anyone knows any of the words.

  2. Wow you did a great job finding out about those words and I love the illustrations!

  3. A lot of difficult words you got there, wordlily! All new to me. I hope someone comes along that can be of some assistance 🙂

    Here is my words.

  4. That’s a lot of words! Sounds like very interesting reading.

    My words are

  5. Darn! Something went wrong with my link. My words are <a href="My words are here

  6. Those are tough!

    I had heard of chadar before (probably from reading one of Khaled Hosseini’s books), but the others are definitely new to me.

  7. Do you think milaad could have something to do with celebrating the prophet’s birthday? When I googled the word, an alternate spelling was milad, which you can look up in Wikipedia.

    In any case, you have lots of interesting words this week! It’s too bad it wasn’t easier to find definitions for all of them!

    Oh and according to this site, maghrib is the evening prayer and zuhr is the noon prayer.

  8. wow! Those are tough!

  9. Fantastic list of new words!

    Frangipani grow in the US in Florida. They have a beautiful scent.

  10. Gurpreet Gambhir

    Gamla means flower pot

    Challi means Corn

    Both words are used in the Hindi- Urdu language.

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