Wondrous Words Wednesday: Tracy Chevalier

This week’s words all come from Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (See this week round-up at BermudaOnion’s blog)

*****

The man poling the boat called out a greeting to me. 

Pole: v. propel (a boat) with a pole.

I could understand this word from the context, but had never heard it as a verb.

*****

I wanted to step into my mother’s kitchen and hand her the pailful of chops.

Pailful: n. the dictionary only says that it’s a derivative of pail, a bucket.

I knew as much. Still, I like this word, sounds poetic to me.

*****

He opened the drawers to the cupboard near his easel and showed me which paints were kept where, naming the colours as he went. I had not heard of many of the words – ultramarine, vermilion, massicot.

Massicot: n. a yellow form of lead monoxide, used as a pigment.

*****

I came to love grinding the things he brought from the apothecary – bones, white lead, madder, massicot – to see how bright and pure I could get the colours.

Madder:n. 1 a plant related to the bedstraws, with roots that yield a red dye. [Rubia tinctorum and other species.] 2 a red dye or pigment obtained from the madder plant.

*****

With his palette knife he began to mix the oil and the white lead together until the paint was like butter that has been left out in a warm kitchen

Palette knife: n. a thin steel blade with a handle for mixing colours or applying or removing paint.

*****

While she was upstairs I had basted the pheasant and sprinkled it with salt.

Baste: v. pour fat or juices over (meat) during cooking.

*****

(All definitions are taken from the Concise Oxford English Dictionary © 2008 via WordReference.com)

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5 comments on “Wondrous Words Wednesday: Tracy Chevalier

  1. I used to work for an artist so I knew palette knife. I’ve never seen pole used as a verb either and I find it interesting that they carried chops in a pail.

Ditelo con parole vostre/Let your words be heard

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