Words from my reading

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

moiled, v Worked hard, labored and toiled
page 189, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
“A revelation of this nature might’ve rendered Swede paralytic until the whole story was told, but Roxanna said, ‘No, you don’t — you said you’d help, let’s keep at it,’ so Swede scraped and moiled with a renewed sense of enterprise, no doubt to grease along any emergent history.”

lignite, n A soft browning coal showing traces of plant structure, intermediate between bituminous coal and peat
page 199, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
“Roxanna told us how generations ago lightning had sliced into an aged cottonwood whose roots ran across a vein of lignite.”
I probably knew this one back in science class, but it escaped me when I wracked my brain looking for it.

grue, n Horror, grief [from a Scandinavian word — to feel horror, shudder — root of gruesome]
page 271, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
“As a tale of grue it was badly timed; Waltzer, too, had spoken of cannibalism, and in fact it seemed a thing he might practice without remorse.”

windlass, n A type of winch used especially on ships to hoist anchors and haul on mooring lines and, especially formerly, to lower buckets into and hoist them up from wells
page 271, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
“I don’t mean he was already Segovia or anything; it was only days since he’d repaired the instrument with a tube of airplane glue and a Spanish windlass tied up from long johns.”

travois, n A type of sled formerly used by Native American Indians to carry goods, consisting of two joined poles dragged by a horse or dog
page 287, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
“In silence Juval presided over the further binding of Lonnie Ford and the construction of a travois by which he could be carried home; then we all mounted, Juval last.”

tanager, n A small American songbird of the bunting family, the male of which typically has brightly colored plumage
page 300, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
“Moving up from the river the humming began to swell — it was magnetic, a sound uncurling into song and light and even a scent, which was like earth, and I must’ve then entered the region of nests, for up scattered finches and cheeky longspurs and every sort of bunting and bobolink and piebald tanager.”
It’s clear that it’s a bird, but that’s all I had.

More great words on my Words from my reading page.

Review of the book cited here:
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

What new words have you found lately?


3 responses to “Words from my reading

  1. Great new words! I feel like I should have known travois, but I couldn’t define it.

  2. You have some great words here and a wonderful nature theme! (aside from grue,, of course, which makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up!)

    The combination of these words piques my interest in Peace Like a River and I’m going to read your review!

    Thank you!
    ~ Amy

  3. One must moil mightily to extract lignite from the earth, probably using a windlass and place it in a travois for transport. I’ll bet the tanager’s sing a lovely song whilst the work is beng done.

    (Dang….hard as I tried, I just couldn’t get grue in there!)

    Great words!!!

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