Vocabulary: Golden Cloud of Silver Clangour Edition

dulia: a theological term signifying the honor paid to the saints (as opposed to god)
lazaret: a small ship, room or building used for quarantine (or simply set aside)
disseizin: wrongful dispossession of one in the possession of real property
surplice: a loose-fitting garment with fabric crossing diagonally in front
quillon: one of the two protrusions forming the crossbar of a sword
opetide: early spring, when flowers’ buds are beginning to open
omnisubjugant: one to whom everyone else is subject (clearly)
anchorite: a hermit or one who has otherwise isolated himself
propinquity: nearness or similarity in time, place, or nature
gallimaufry: a medley or jumble (originally a food term)
legerdemain: sleight of hand (French: “light of hand”)
dandiacal: of or pertaining to dandies; foppish
aureate: gold, brilliant, or ornate in style
apposite: relevant, apt, or well-suited
guerdon: a reward or compensation
pleach: to interweave or braid
portreeve: a port warden

https://coldewey.cc/2010/03/vocabulary-golden-cloud-of-silver-clangour/ »

Vocabulary: shadow of the gonfalon edition

anacreontic: after the style of Anacreon, a Greek poet fond of women and drinking
tholus: a circular building with a conical or vaulted roof (Greek)
architrave: the lowermost molding at the top of a colonnade
gonfalon: a standard or banner hung from a crossbar
caique: a rowboat or small sailing ship
fiacre: a small, four-wheeled carriage
pardine: a leopard or panther
nigrescent: not quite black

https://coldewey.cc/2010/02/vocabulary-shadow-of-the-gonfalon-edition/ »

Vocabulary: Final Shandean Edition

hypallage: a reversal of an expected phrasing (i.e. doing well -> well doing)
renversé: a French term, meaning something performed with a bent waist
toise: an old French unit of length equivalent to 6.4ft (almost exactly 2m)
quinsy: an outdated term for some forms of tonsil-related disease
obliquity: divergent – mathematically, astronomically, or mentally
iracundulous: a redundant addition to iracund (prone to anger)
tunicle: a garment worn by certain religious functionaries
meseraick: an anatomical term relating to the humors
eleemosynary: pertaining to or supported by charity
prolegomena: an introductory essay or preface
whilom: formerly or at one time

https://coldewey.cc/2009/10/vocabulary-final-shandean-edition/ »

Vocabulary: foppish naturalist edition

From Ten Thousand A-Year

pomatum: a perfumed unguent for the scalp (it’s pomade)
bedizen: to ornament or dress in a showy or pompous manner
opprobrious: expressing (or bringing) reproach or scorn
champerty: sharing the proceeds of a lawsuit by an outside party who has encouraged the
  litigation. Used to be illegal, is now the standard
animadversion: a critical or reproachful remark
jackanapes: an impudent person, especially a young man or child
fustian: a stout fabric of cotton and flax, or unnecessarily turgid language
virago: a strong and forward woman, or critical and scolding woman
palaver: to talk profusely or idly

From Glaucus; or, The Wonders of the Shore

congener: an organism belonging to the same class or group as another organism
coracle: a small boat made of wicker and a treated or waterproof material
sciolism: superficial knowledge, or a pretentious attitude of scholarship
tyro: a beginner or novice

https://coldewey.cc/2009/09/vocabulary-foppish-naturalist-edition/ »

Words from an evolutionary history of religion

metempsychosis: belief in reincarnation (as animals and plants included)
teraphim: household gods, worshiped by early Hebrews via idols
eidolon: a phantom, apparition, or idol

https://coldewey.cc/2009/08/words-from-an-evolutionary-history-of-religion/ »

Vocabulary: Lean Horse Edition

From the last hundred pages or so of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman:

obtruncate: to deprive of a limb (makes sense).
indissoluble: perpetual or incapable of being dissolved or destroyed. I love double negatives within words.
oedematous: of or pertaining to the edema (obviously). Edema: interstitial cellular fluid.
sententious: given to pithy or moralizing sayings.
ratiocination: the process of logical reasoning.
aposiopetic: (aposiopesis) breaking off a sentence in the middle, as if unable to proceed
parallelogramical: parallelogram-shaped (clearly; I just liked the word).
radix: the base of a numerical system, or the root of a plant (interesting).
jactitation: a boast that causes harm to another, also extreme restlessness in bed?
delectation: enjoyment (knew it).
saturnine: sluggish, melancholy, or bitter in temperament.
farthingal: hoops used to expand women’s skirts at the time of the book.
palfry: (palfrey) a woman’s saddle, smaller and softer.
placket-hole: the hole that goes into a pocket (!).
concupiscence: sexual lust, or more generally, passion.
windlass: a sort of crank-based lifting machine (no idea).
geniture: birth.
costive: constipated, slow to act, or stingy (very versatile word!).
impuissance: (impuissant) weak, feeble.
captious: of a disposition to point out faults, or ensnaring and perplexing when referring to argument.
farrago: a mixture or medley.
pannier: a basket or bag (i.e. breadbasket), or again hoops to expand skirts.
basilicon: an ointment made of wax, pitch, resin, and oil or lard.
ecliptic, trine, and sextil: all terms to do with astrological positions.
argute: shrewd or subtle (I assume it has roots in the hundred-eyed god Argus).

https://coldewey.cc/2009/08/vocabulary-lean-horse-edition/ »


It never occurred to me that the above oath, so benign and absurd in sound, is actually a corruption of “God’s hooks,” a euphemism for the nails in the cross. Gadzooks indeed!

Vocabulary: Fraught With Grammarye Edition

From Burton’s translation of the 1001 Nights.

grammarye: corruption of “grammary” or vice versa. General knowledge or erudition.
nenuphar: the “great white water lily of Europe.” Okay…
blee: complexion.
carnelian: a type of red chalcedony made into jewelry. Was a descriptor for some lady’s lips.
wot: know. Variation of “wit.”
lout: bend or stoop low out of courtesy. (I know what the other lout is)
wassail: to drink someone’s health or revel in general with drink.
sworder: swordsman or fighter.
eyne: archaic plural of “eye.” Really now, you could just say eyes.
hent: to seize or grab.
garth: a courtyard or garden.
syce: a groom or stable boy.
viaticum: supplies for a journey – also when the Eucharist is given to one near death.
gugglet: see guglet > see goglet > a long-necked earthenware container for water or liquid.
dight: to dress or adorn.
limn: to portray or illuminate – originally to literally illuminate.
meseemeth: it seems to me. Obviously… but come on.

https://coldewey.cc/2009/05/vocabulary-fraught-with-grammarye-edition/ »


Did you ever notice that “broadcast,” when broken down, essentially means to “throw in a wide pattern?” Neither did I. And yet it makes so much sense. Start looking closely at everything about you and you find this sort of thing everywhere.

Old timey vocabulary: Bleak House edition

From the first half of Bleak House:

ait – a small island, esp. in a river. In green aits and fields…
nosegay – a bouquet of flowers. I knew this one.
patten – a sort of clog worn to give height or keep one out of the mud. I would have guessed some sort of special mitten.
pattening – can’t find anything for this one. Possibly a misprint of “patterning?” It has to do with clothes.
purblind – partially or totally blind. I’m thinking it’s related to “par-boiled.”
weazen – like wizened, but with 100% more ea. Suffix optional.
tapis – a carpet or tapestry.
prolixity – of unnecessary or tedious length. Wordy.
prosing – to speak or write in prose, usually in a dull way. I thought so, just making sure.
paviour – a paving material or person who paves. Might as well just say “paver.”
emolument – profit or fees resulting from labor. Pay, essentially.
nankeen – some sort of yellowish clothing made from Chinese cotton. Makes sense.
desultory – haphazard, inconsistent, tangential (unrelated to sultry)

O Lord!

https://coldewey.cc/2009/03/old-timey-vocabulary-bleak-house-edition/ »

Words I never looked up from “The Three Musketeers”

  • casuist – apparently one whose reasoning is suspect or false
  • catafalque – no idea
  • sbirri – some sort of authority in France, possibly Huguenot-related
  • exordium – an introductory or explanatory passage?
  • caparison – part of a horse’s decoration
  • caracole – something horses do
  • fauteuil – has to do with fainting, but may be furniture as well
  • carbuncle – a jewel, if I remember correctly… also an esper
  • soubrette – a lady’s personal servant
  • quodlibet – your guess is as good as mine
  • laveer – ditto

I guess I could google these, but I’m busy. Little help?

https://coldewey.cc/2009/01/words-i-never-looked-up-from-the-three/ »

Words I’ve had to learn to read the first few chapters of “Tristram Shandy”

  • vaticination – prophecy or foreknowledge (not what it sounds like)
  • heteroclite – irregular or deviant (I should have guessed)
  • declension – a decline or downward slope (literal or abstract)
  • cervantic – (not in any dictionary, but its meaning is clear if subtle)
  • panegyric – elaborate oration or praise ( I knew that)
https://coldewey.cc/2009/01/words-ive-had-to-learn-to-read-the-first-few/ »