Words from my reading

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

pheal, n The cry of the jackal when hunting behind a tiger
page 213, The Hidden by Tobias Hill
“The pheal rose and fell like a siren, eerie and silver and unearthly.”

lycanthropic, adj Of or pertaining to a mental illness in which one imagines oneself to be a wolf; of or pertaining to the magical power to transform oneself or another into a wolf
page 214, The Hidden by Tobias Hill
“She looked like a different animal, larger and wilder, lycanthropic, the moon transforming her.”
Transforming her into a werewolf, that is.

gyre, n A circular or spiral motion, whirl, revolution; a circular or spiral form, ring or vortex
page 225, The Hidden by Tobias Hill
“The gyre of a skylark.”

moue, n A pouting grimace, a wry face
page 243, The Hidden by Tobias Hill
Warm gin, Natsuko had said, making a moue of distaste, and before he could offer himself Eleschen had spoken for him.”

lacuna, n A space where something has been omitted or has come out, gap, hiatus, especially a missing portion in a manuscript, text, etc.; in anatomy and biology, a space, cavity, or depression, specifically, any of the very small cavities in bone that are filled with bone cells
page 245, The Hidden by Tobias Hill
“In its lacuna he realised he had lost the thread of the conversation.”
I wanted to look this one up anyway, since it’s the title of the new Barbara Kingsolver book.

strimming, n The act or motion of a weed whacker or string trimmer [I’m improvising on this definition, piecing it together, but it fits the context, so I’m running with it.]
page 249, The Hidden by Tobias Hill
“Athenian hirelings creeping along the tops with slings strimming through the smoke, like Davids going to meet their Goliaths.”

crenellations, pl n Regular gaps around the top of a castle for firing arrows or guns; the indentations or loopholes in the top of a battlement or wall, embrasure
page 252, The Hidden by Tobias Hill
“The hillside below was steep, shapeless wild olives and cypress giving way to a boulder beach, monstrous eggs and domes worn smooth by the Ionian; and high above them, to the north, the broken outline of a fortress, crenellations white in the noon sun.”
I should have known this one, but it didn’t come to me immediately.

whinge, v [British colloquialism] To complain or protest, especially in an annoying or persistent manner n A whine or complaint
page 252, The Hidden by Tobias Hill
“You sound like Jason when you whinge.”

louche, adj [French] Questionable, shady, odd
page 260, The Hidden by Tobias Hill
“Jason was still in bed when they returned, and they pottered around till past noon, abandoning their church clothes, Eleschen luxuriant and louche in her too-short hotel dressing gown, Ben yawning and bone-idle and magnificently bruised, all of them except Eberhard playing Texas Hold ‘Em under Jason’s drowsy tutelage before migrating down to the square for an afternoon measured out in beers, frappés, taverna wine, and platters of sweet hot fried squid at a breezy end-of-jetty table.”

torc, n A rigid piece of personal adornment made from twisted metal, worn as an arm ring, a circular neck ring, or a necklace that is open-ended at the front
page 261, The Hidden by Tobias Hill
“The inscription on a Moghul ruby; the gold ropes of a Celtic torc; the miracle of Seahenge.”

More, more, still more words from The Hidden — and yet another installment of words from The Hidden. (And we’re not done yet, folks, one more week left!) More great words on my Words from my reading page.

Review of book cited here:
The Hidden by Tobias Hill

What new words have you found lately?

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10 responses to “Words from my reading

  1. Great words! I knew louche, but only because it’s French.

  2. I just bought The Lacuna but I haven’t started to read it yet. Now I’m really intrigued. In my head I was thinking some kind of animal. Thanks for looking that up.

  3. Thanks for this great list. I didn’t know any of them except for crinellations. I love how British words are spelled differently- whinge being our whine. Is it pronounced the same?

    • Whinge is pronounced how you’d expect it to be pronounced by looking at it; my dictionary spelled the pronunciation guide ‘winj’ — so no, it’s not pronounced the same way whine is pronounced.

  4. Gyre is the only one I’d heard of. Great list.

  5. Wow, I have a lot to learn as I have never heard/read any of these words before! I wonder if I’ll ever have a client with an issue of a lycanthropic nature? 🙂

  6. Another week to go? lol.

    Glad you’re enjoying the words, Lily, even if the book didn’t really work for you. Good wishes and happy future reading,

    Tobias.

  7. Pingback: Words from my reading « Word Lily

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