Wondrous Words Wednesday: Sue Monk Kidd II

This week’s words all come from The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd (See this week round-up at BermudaOnion’s blog!)

*****

I parked in front of Kat’s gift shop, where Max sat beneath the blue-and-white-striped awning

Awning: n.a sheet of canvas or similar material stretched on a frame and used to shelter a shop window or doorway.

Never heard of this one, though it was clear from the context:

Image by Scoobyfoo on Flickr

*****

Hepzibah was wearing an ebony shift

Shift: n. a straight dress that hangs from the shoulders and is not fitted at the waist.

I didn’t know this meaning at all!

*****

He pointed to a flash of mullet, to several wood storks lifting out of the grass, to an osprey nest perched atop a dead pine.

Mullet: n. a family of ray-finned fish found worldwide in coastal temperate and tropical waters, and in some species in fresh water.

Osprey: n. a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey.

*Both definitions come from Wikipedia

Mullet (image credits by Wikipedia)

Osprey (image credits by Wikipedia)

*****

She was the only person I knew more fearless than Kat, someone who could, if she wanted, clean Kat’s Clock, as they say.

To clean someone’s clock: N. Amer. informal beat or decisively defeat someone.

I’d have never guessed. It would be nice to know how this saying came into use.

*****

The room was painted the color of pluff mud – a rich, fermenting brown – and there were mermaid doodads everywhere.

Doodad: informal an object that the speaker cannot name precisely.

Another one I would never have guessed.

*****

We were going to stand in this little room – no longer suffused in wan, romantic hues but only in ordinary dimness – and use innocuous conversation as a defense.

Wan: adj. (of light) pale; weak

This I had completely misunderstood. I had connected it to “wanton”, but it is not so. I wonder.

*****

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

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11 comments on “Wondrous Words Wednesday: Sue Monk Kidd II

  1. A mullet is also the name of a hair cut- short on top, long at the back (although the fish meaning is the one from your sentence). I love the word doodad, haven’t used it in ages, will have to try and use it in the next week for something.

  2. Fun words. I use awning and doodad fairly often. I don’t use “clean someone’s clock” but that’s only because I’m a nice person who wouldn’t do such a thing!

  3. @ Bermudaonion: that’s one thing I liked in this book: words are right for its setting!
    @ Louise: I discovered as much when I checked for images! And today (wonder the chance!) I found a completely unrelated post in my reader where I discovered that it can also be a dress!
    @ Lemon123: I agree!
    @ Bev and Mary Ann: thanks for your comments!
    @ Joy: because you wouldn’t do such a thing or say such a thing? I mean, it’s not impolite or vulgar as a phrase, is it?

  4. I’m a Southern girl – knew all of these. We have many osprey living around here – they build giant nests on top of poles. Once one built a nest by the baseball field and in the middle of the game flew over and dropped a fish out of his mouth into the outfield.

    I loved Sue Monk Kidd’s first book but wasn’t thrilled with Mermaid’s Chair – will have to explore your blog and see what you thought of it.

Ditelo con parole vostre/Let your words be heard

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