Wondrous Words Wednesday: Jules Verne

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) and interesting (to us, again) words we encountered in our readings. See this week round-up at BermudaOnion’s blog!

My words for this week come from Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne.


When he used to plant mignonette and convolvuluses in his terracotta pots in the spring, every morning he went regularly and pulled their leaves, to hasten growth.

Mignonette: n. a plant with spikes of small fragrant greenish flowers. [Reseda lutea and related species.]

Convolvulus: n. a twining plant with trumpet-shaped flowers, some kinds of which are invasive weeds; bindweed. [Genus Convolvulus.]

Mignonette (Source: Wikipedia)

Convolvulus (Source: Wikipedia)


And suppose he called me, and wanted to recommence his logogryphical labours, which old OEdipus himself would not have undertaken?

Logogryphical: adj.

I could find no definition whatsoever, but discovered that there is a book titled “The Logogryph”. I can see that the word comes from Greek: word+sign. In this context, it means: related to a written enigma.


All was explained when M. Fridrikson informed us he was only an eider-duck hunter, a bird whose down is the principal wealth of the island. The down is called “eider-down.”

Eider: n. (also, eider-duck) a northern sea duck of which the male is mainly black-and-white and the female brown. [Somateria mollissima and related species.]
Eiderdown: n. a quilt filled with down (originally from the eider) or another soft material.

I find this word particularly interesting. I knew the word “eiderdown” but I had no idea it was directly linked with a bird’s name. And I always wondered about the Portuguese word “edredao”, which means more or less the same thing… I guess they’re related somehow.

Common eider (Source: Wikipedia)


A man who is just about to start for the center of the earth does not care about a few rix-dollars.

Rix-dollar: n. English term for silver coinage used throughout the European continent.
*This definition comes from Wikipedia

Now, I would never imagine that there was a word for such a concept!

(Source: Silver Unlimited)


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


6 comments on “Wondrous Words Wednesday: Jules Verne

  1. @ BermudaOnion: I almost jumped on my seat when I realised it 😉

    @ Col and Mary Ann: I had originally read “nix-dollar” as in: something without value :LOL:

    @ Annie and Margot: not having a green thumb myself (or a garden, for that matter), there are always new plant names for me to learn…

Ditelo con parole vostre/Let your words be heard

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