Words from my reading

A few fun words that were new to me this week:

araliya, n Another name for plumeria, aka frangipani
page 5, A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman
“Rings of white vathu-suddha studded here and there with small-petaled yolk yellow araliya, her favorite flower.”



Ixora, n Any of a genus of tropical evergreen plants of the madder family, with showy flowers, often grown in greenhouses
page 5, A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman
“Sometimes, a small sprig of Ixora for a splash of red, even though the plant was considered poisonous to the mind by some who sounded like they knew these things; Soma, the old servant, for instance, with her faded clothes and neatly whittled hands that handled vegetables like pliant but precious gems, testing their firmness with a press of concave fingernails.”

coir, n The prepared fiber of the husks of coconuts, used to make matting and rope
page 11, A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman
“Then she climbed on a low bench and took her blue dress off the coir rope where she had hung it to air after the last time.”

banian, or banyan, n In present day Indian English, the USian equivalent of an undershirt; a Hindu merchant; also, a widespread, tropical fig tree native to India (shoots grow from the branches, take root and form new trunks over a relatively wide area)
page 13, A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman
“A boy about my son’s age accosts us; he wears a banian and a pair of shorts that are too small for him.”

kurumba, n Coconuts that grow in abundance
page 16, A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman
“I will slash kurumba from our front yard with my knife, drain the sweet water into my children’s plastic drink bottles.”

albesia, n Trees that usually grow very straight, the bottom tends to be heavier and more red than the top; produce low-density wood that is relatively easy to carve
page 26, A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman
“‘It’s a good thing this old well is still surrounded by albesia, isn’t it?'”

melismatic, adj Of or relating to a succession of different notes sung upon a single syllable, as originally in plainsong or, now especially, in the ornamental phrases of Near Eastern and Asian music
page 77, A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman
“I have been listening to the stationmaster’s melismatic chant, the repetition, save one each time, of the places we pass and move beyond: Ula-pane, Nawala-pitiya, Wata-wala, Roz-ella, Hatton, Kota-gala, Talawa-kele, Wata-goda, Great-Western, Nanu-oya, Ambe-wela, Patti-pola, Ohiya, Idalgas-inna, Hapu-tale, Diyata-lawa, Bandara-wela, El-la, Demo-dara, Hali-Ela, Bad-ulla … and that’s how he pronounces them, breaking each one into two, all except her station and mine: Hatton and Ohiya.”

fecund, adj Fruitful or fertile, productive, prolific
page 81, A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman
“Everything feels lush here, even in the darkness; the mountain air is cool, the fecund soil giving off a certain scent, like a beautiful woman with many children secure in the knowledge of more to come.”
I should know this one, but I forget.

More great words on my Words from my reading page.

Review of the book cited here:
A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman

What new words have you found lately?


9 responses to “Words from my reading

  1. Very impressive words … and even more impressive that you were able to do this feature this week, in the midst of all the BBAW craziness! My words, balderdash, and weekly wrap up might be taking a little siesta this week.

  2. Is that where “AYE KURUMBA!” comes from? ALL I can think about is Bart Simpson right now…

  3. Great list! The only one I knew was fecund.
    Mrs. Chili- good catch! I bet it does come from that.
    Just goes to show we say a lot of things that we don’t really understand.

  4. I felt like I should know fecund too, but couldn’t define it. All the rest were new to me.

  5. Hi!
    Great words. I was surprised by the meaning of fecund. I thought it was something rotten. Have a great day!


  6. Those are some doozies! I love the picture of the ixora. Such a gorgeous red. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I agree, those are some great words! Right now melismatic sounds so soothing to me. I received an invitation to a women’s retreat on relaxation and stress management and one of the activities was drumming. I had to ask about that since it didn’t sound to relaxing to me. 🙂

  8. The only word I knew was coir and only because I was reading something about how rope was made by native people around the world. (I know, I read odd stuff all the time.) I like the sounds of The Disobedient Girl.

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