Words from my reading

Get right to it, shall we? A few fun words this week that I found in my reading:

volutes, pl n “Large tight curls that resembled the scrolls of an Ionic capital, a hairstyle popular among ancient Roman noblewomen”
page 6, The Last Ember by Daniel Levin
“Her hair was rolled meticulously into two spiral volutes, large tight curls that resembled the scrolls of an Ionic capital, a hairstyle popular among ancient Roman noblewomen.”
The sentence itself did a pretty good job with this one.

carabinieri, n The Italian police
page 9, The Last Ember by Daniel Levin
“‘And as of ten minutes ago, so have the carabinieri.'”
I had this one figured out, but looked it up just in case.

steganographic, adj From the Greek, Using concealed writing
page 23, The Last Ember by Daniel Levin
“‘A steganographic message,’ Jonathan said, referring to the ancient art of invisible writing.”

keffiyahs, pl n Traditional headdresses typically worn by Arab men made of a square of cloth, usually cotton, folded and wrapped in various styles around the head
page 81, The Last Ember by Daniel Levin
“Dozens of men in keffiyahs pushed wheelbarrows brimming with piles of ashlar block, potsherds, and broken glass.”

ashlar, n A square-cut building stone; a thin, dressed, square stone used for facing masonry walls; masonry made of either kind of ashlar
page 83, The Last Ember by Daniel Levin
“Dozens of men in keffiyahs pushed wheelbarrows brimming with piles of ashlar block, potsherds, and broken glass.”

grappa, n An Italian brandy distilled from the lees [dregs or sediment] left after pressing grapes to make wine
page 148, The Last Ember by Daniel Levin
“He remembered the courtyard in the summer, grappa picnic lunches for the fellows.”

reliquary, n A case or other container in which relics are kept and displayed for veneration
page 189, The Last Ember by Daniel Levin
“Under the main altar in a reliquary of gold and rock crystal lay the ancient chains that bound Saint Peter in Jerusalem, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.”

geniza, adj The store-room or depository in a synagogue (or cemetery), usually specifically for worn-out Hebrew-language books and papers on religious topics that were stored there before they could receive a proper cemetery burial, it being forbidden to throw away writings containing the name of God (even personal letters and legal contracts could open with an invocation of God)
page 237, The Last Ember by Daniel Levin
“Under different circumstances they would have traded memories of their younger days, when the Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale cooperated with the Israel Antiquities Authority to bust a geniza scroll ring in Amman.”

trireme, n An ancient Greek or Roman galley, usually a warship, with three banks of oars on each side
page 245, The Last Ember by Daniel Levin
“In the cabin lighting, her plump lips had a shine and Jonathan remembered once calling them — amid admiring laughter — the pink hulls of an ancient Roman ship, a trireme, their voluptuous folds like the hundred oars that slanted from each side.”

Cow parsley, via <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Anthriscus_sylvestris_Fluitenkruidbloemen.jpg">Wikipedia</a>

Cow parsley, via Wikipedia


cow parsley, n (Also known as wild chervil, wild beaked parsley, and keck) A herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial plant native to Europe, western Asia and northwestern Africa
page 316, The Last Ember by Daniel Levin
“Alternating white and purple fields of cow parsley and lavender surrounded the ruins and stretched into the distance.”

More great words on my Words from my reading page.

Review of book cited here:
The Last Ember by Daniel Levin

What new words have you found lately?

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11 responses to “Words from my reading

  1. I love the look of cow parsley. Too bad we don’t have it in the US. The Last Ember seems to be rich in new words. Hope you enjoyed.

  2. Do you usually remember the words from your reading that you have to look up? Most of the time, the words are so obscure that even when I look them I don’t usually remember them because I encounter them so rarely.

    • I don’t always remember all the words, but I do remember more than a few of them. I think the repeated contact with them — to turn them into a blog post — helps drill them into my head. I’ve actually had opportunity to use some of them in the course of normal conversation, even, which helps.

  3. I only know two words out of the lot. I truly enjoy to learn about difficult words posted by you!

    Here is my Wondrous Words Wednesdays post.

  4. I didn’t know ashlar – thanks for sharing 🙂
    Here’s mine

  5. Some of those words I only knew because my “words” screensaver (it scrolls words and definitions across the screen that rotate and change every day). I just saw another one go by: “exurb” (a district outside the city). English words are fascinating.

  6. Holy cow, that’s a lot of words! I found 2 that are familiar to me – grappa and parsley. Of course, I didn’t know what cow parsley was.

  7. So do cows eat cow parsley after their hay to freshen their breath? 😉

  8. I’m in the same boat as bermudaonion. I only knew grappa & parsley. I’ve never heard of cow parsley before. Interesting.

  9. You are so good to look them up! I just skim over them.

    Of course, today I’ve been reading a book in Spanish and I only know about 50% of the words. I used to know them all! So it woudl take me a while to look them all up!

  10. Hmm, I’m not sure I’d want my lips compared to a slave galley. What does that symbolize?

    Very interesting list. I recognized several that I must have read but couldn’t have said what they were as I didn’t take the time to look up. So glad you do!

    And softdrink- I wish that were true. Having grown up around cows I can tell you they burp a lot and do not have fresh breath.

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