Words from my reading

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

lilies of the nile

via thanker212 on flickr

lilies of the Nile, pl n A genus of mostly summer-blooming flower plants with six to ten species of herbaceous perennial plants native to South Africa; Agapanthus
page 59, White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner
“Lilies of the Nile protruded from every patch of landscaping, shaded by mature sycamores and towering California fan palms.”
I thought I’d better include this one — after all, my blog is Word Lily!

occidental, adj [old poetic] Western
page 9, Lost Mission by Athol Dickson
“On their long walk across the occidental range of the Sierra Madre Mountains, together these men endured many trials and difficulties.”

brigantine, n A two-masted ship like a hermaphrodite brig but with a square-rigged topsail on the mainmast
page 9, Lost Mission by Athol Dickson
“A brigantine carried the Franciscans along with the soldiers and their retinue of horses, mules, and cattle across the Sea of Cortez to the shores of Baja California.”

tonsured, adj Having a clipping or shaving off of part or all of the hair of the head, done especially (formerly) as a signal of entrance into the clerical or monastic state
page 42, Lost Mission by Athol Dickson
“To protect his tonsured scalp he often raised his hood, but then the heat tormented him beneath the heavy cloth so he put it down again.”

maguey, n Any of a number of fleshy-leaved, fiber-yielding agaves of the SW U.S., Mexico, and Central America, especially the century plant and species used in making rope, pulque, and tequila; any of several other plants of the same family; any of several kinds of tough fibers from these plants
page 43, Lost Mission by Athol Dickson
“Although Fray Alejandro did not doubt the abbot’s vow of poverty, to him it sometimes seemed Guillermo reviewed their possessions as if the inventory were a kind of creed: so many reams of paper, so many blankets, so many yards of sackcloth and green baize, and maguey cloth, and red pepper bales, and dried beef, cotton seed, vine cuttings, wine, lentils, flour, rice, lard, and of course there was the herd of cattle to be counted twice each day.”
Obviously, I could tell it was cloth of some kind, but that was about as far as I got.

More great words on my Words from my reading page.

Reviews of books cited here:
White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner
Lost Mission by Athol Dickson

What new words have you found lately?


7 responses to “Words from my reading

  1. Interesting as always. I’d read occidental many times and now I know what it means! I suppose its the counterpart to oriental which used to be used to be a common term for eastern, as in The Orient Express.

  2. Thanks for the picture definition of lily of the nile. I’ve read that many times but had a different picture in my head. They are so pretty.

  3. I remember occidental, but I think that just shows my age. I don’t think that word is used so much these days.

  4. I only learned what lillies of the Nile were this summer, when I ran across one in a greenhouse and couldn’t stop taking pictures of it. They’re absolutely gorgeous in person!

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