Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wonderous Words Wednesday (6)

It’s Wednesday again, so it’s time for Bermuda Onion’s Wonderous Words Wednesday.

Once again, all of the unfamiliar words I’ve come across this week are from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander.

Minatory(adj.): menacing; threatening

“The priest had the boy gripped by the nape of the neck, a hold made somewhat difficult to maintain by the fact that the lad was slightly taller than his minatory captor.” -- page 168

Susurrus(n.): a soft murmuring or rustling sound; whisper.

“The shut window blocked the sound both of the rain and the crowd below; the two blended in a soft, pattering susurrus of menace.” – page 170

Nonce(n.): the present, or immediate, occasion or purpose

“This personage was dressed as befitted his office in the sober elegance of dark breeches and coat and grey velvet hat (removed for the nonce and tenderly sheltered from the rain beneath the tail of his coat).” – page 172

Felon(n.): an acute and painful inflammation of the deeper tissues of a finger or toe, usually near the nail: a form of whitlow.

“He had been to the Castle only a few days before to see whether I could treat a persistent felon on his thumb.” – page 172

Plinth(n.): a slablike member beneath the base of a column or pier.

“If ye can make shift to fall off the plinth, still better.” – page 176

Sporran(n.): (in Scottish Highland costume) a large pouch for men, commonly of fur, worn, suspended from a belt, in front of the kilt.

“He flipped the badge once in the air, caught it, and dropped it neatly into his sporran.” – page 184

Tynchal(n.): A circle of sportsmen, who, by surrounding an extensive space and gradually closing in, bring a number of deer and game within a narrow compass. [Scot.]

“But the Highland Scots of clan MacKenzie were a tougher bunch than I had reckoned with, for the castle was a buzzing hive long before dawn, with rowdy voices calling up and down the corridors, and a great clanking of armory and thudding of boots as men prepared for the tynchal.” – page 192

*The dictionary entry I found spelled it ‘tinchel’*

Bicorne(n.): a two-cornered cocked hat worn esp. in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

“A small pair of gold-rimmed half-spectacles, a neat hair-ribbon and a bicorne of blue felt completed the picture.” -- page 204

Stramash(n.): an uproar; disturbance.

“Oh, there was a great stramash about it all. There were cousins and uncles and tacksmen and a great Gathering to decide the matter.” – page 206

Putative (adj.): commonly regarded as such; reputed; supposed

“If he believed I was a gentlewoman in distress, he might provide me with temporary escort toward the coast and my putative embarkation for France.” – page 226

Ablutions: Washing of the body

“Dougal was silent for several minutes, watching me intently as I conducted my haphazard ablutions.” – page 242

Punctilio (n.): strictness or exactness in the observance of formalities or amenities.

“With considerable punctilio, he then called for the garrison doctor, and had him certify officially that Jamie was fit enough to be flogged.” – page 248

All definitions are from


bermudaonion said...

That book has a lot of great words! The only one I know is ablutions - my parents are in their 80s and they use that word. Thanks for playing along today.

gautami tripathy said...

Thats a lot of words. I only know three of those!

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Jo-Jo said...

Wow...that is a bunch of words! That is a new definition of felon for me. Thanks for sharing these!