Words from my reading

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

vervain, n One of several weedy plants of the genus Verbena, primarily V. officinalis, widely dispersed in warm and temperate regions in both hemispheres, growing a foot or two high, with spreading wiry branches, and very small flowers
page 18, Certain Women by Madeleine L’Engle
“David sipped a cup of vervain, watching the shadows of the great Douglas firs on the nearby islands deepen and darken.”

blondined, adj Bleached, having bleached hair
page 290, Certain Women by Madeleine L’Engle
“He was sitting at a small table in the living room, playing cards with a blondined actress who had been cast in a small role in Uncle Vanya.”
That’s basically what I guessed.

subaltern, n [Chiefly British] Holding a military rank just below that of captain
page 71, Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear
“Maisie closed her eyes and gripped the coat to her, the smell of death lingering among the folds of fabric, as if the garment had absorbed something of what the artist had seen as a young subaltern.”

A traditional oasthouse (Oast House at Cherry Tree Farm, Mill Lane, Frittenden, Kent, England)

oasthouses, pl n Buildings designed for kilning (drying) hops as part of the brewing process
page 76, Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear
“Nick’s early sketches were of pastoral scenes, of horses in Kent-ish fields, of farms and oasthouses, of cattle ambling toward the milking shed in late afternoon and of women gathered outside farm buildings, their jackets secured by string, laced boots muddied under heavy cloth skirts with pinafores.”

More great words on my Words from my reading page.

Books cited here:
Certain Women by Madeleine L’Engle [my review]
Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear [my review]

What new words have you found lately?

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15 responses to “Words from my reading

  1. We say : verveine, blondinet and subalterne, in French, with the same meanings ! But I don’t know “Oasthause” really beautiful !

  2. Every time I read these posts, I want to do one of my own. Words are so interesting!

  3. Very interesting words,I like the word blondined.

  4. I love this meme. So many words out there that one doesn’t know. I’d heard (and forgotten) about oasthouses, but vervain is definitely new to me. There are alot of plants that I wouldn’t know the names of (either common or Latin).

  5. I kind of figured blondined from the context as well. I’ve seen pictures of oasthouses, but never knew what they were called or what purpose they served.

  6. Pingback: Wondrous Words Wednesday | Joy's Book Blog

  7. I’ve never heard of blondined. The rest were vaguely familiar words, but I didn’t get the meanings quite correct until I saw your definitions. Particularly, subaltern — I didn’t realize that had something to do with the military. Thanks!

  8. Pingback: Quote of the Day: Madeline L’Engle « writefly.

  9. Too funny, I had to look up subaltern, too. 🙂 I take notes on my bookmark of words to look up (along with a page number, so I can go back and reread and comprehend). It’s a great practice and I learn something every time I read a book!

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