Words from my reading

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

Quercus ilex foliage, via MPF on Wikipedia

ilex, n (aka Holm Oak) A large evergreen oak
page 3, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“The table stood in a sanded square, among potted orange and oleander trees, shaded by spreading ilex oaks that grew out of the rocks overhead.”

Augean, adj, Requiring so much effort to complete or solve as to seem impossible; of or relating to Augeas, who, in Greek mythology, was a legendary king whose vast stables had never been cleaned
page 6, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“‘If this Augean stable is not cleansed, now that the territory has been taken over by a progressive government, it will prejudice the interests of the Church in the whole of North America.'”

exordium, n The beginning or introductory part, especially of a discourse or treatise
page 8, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“‘I suspect, from your exordium, that you have a candidate — and that he is a French priest, perhaps?'”

verdure, n Lush green vegetation
page 24, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“Below them, in the midst of that wavy ocean of sand, was a green thread of verdure and a running stream.”
I guessed that this was related to verdant, and I was right!

reboso, n A wide rectangular woven shawl
page 28, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“She was dressed in black, with a white apron, and a black reboso over her head, like a Mexican woman of the poor.”
The context is pretty clear on this one, I think.

piñon, n [aka pinyon] A small pine tree with edible seeds — pine nuts — native to Mexico and the southwest U.S.
page 31, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“The result was grass and trees and flowers and human life; household order and hearths from which the smoke of burning piñon logs rose like incense to Heaven.”
I had never thought about what tree pine nuts came from!

boles, pl n Tree trunks
page 34, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“All the wood used in making tables and bedsteads was hewn from tree boles with the ax or hatchet.”

gigot, n A leg of mutton or lamb
page 58, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“Father Vaillant had his gigot to himself.”

scapegrace, n [archaic] A mischievous or wayward person, especially a young person or child, rascal
page 76, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“Our Padre Martinez at Taos is an old scapegrace, if ever there was one; he’s got children and grandchildren in almost every settlement around here.”

napery, n Household linen, especially tablecloths and napkins
page 82, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“The Padre was adored by a rich Mexican widow, who was hostess at his supper parties, engaged his servants for him, made lace for the altar and napery for his table.”
I guessed napkins, and I was pretty close.

More great words on my Words from my reading page.

Reviews of books cited here:
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

What new words have you found lately?

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6 responses to “Words from my reading

  1. Lots of good ones this week! Happy St. Paddy’s Day to ya!

  2. Many wonderful words – all in the same book!

  3. Great words – they’re all new to me!

  4. Willa Cather gave you a nice list of new words to add to your collection. This and your review has me wanting to pull that book out again.

  5. I knew a few of those – boles, napery and verdure – but lots of new words. And pictures!

    Here is my word of the week.

  6. Pingback: Words from my reading « Word Lily

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