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.

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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)

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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.

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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)

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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)

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

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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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