Wondrous Words Wednesday: Irving Stone (2)

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 again from The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone.


He marked out the most promising route to the quarry area, set the men to work with picks and shovels to cut a trail up which the burros could carry supplies.

Burro: n. (chiefly US) a small donkey used as a pack animal.

I knew that the word burro means donkey in Spanish and Portuguese, but didn’t know it was used in English too. And as the scene is set in Italy it  sounded a bit out of context. Interesting!


Photo credits: Donkey Sanctuary Press Images on Flickr


After immuring himself for weeks, Michelangelo attended a dinner of the Company of the Cauldron.

Immure: v. confine or imprison.

This has a Latin origin (to put between muri, walls), so it was clear to me, but new at the same time. Nice!


“I will find charwomen, messere,” announced the imperturbable Urbino. “What refreshment does one serve the Holy Father and his train?”

Charwomen: n. (Brit. dated) a woman employed as a cleaner in a house or office.

This one was completely new and a word I could not make sense of. Wow!


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


7 comments on “Wondrous Words Wednesday: Irving Stone (2)

  1. Hello Scribacchina,

    Some great words from you this week.

    The only one I didn’t now was immure, but when you explain the Latin origins, it makes perfect sense really.

    As you discovered, ‘Charwoman’ is virtually exclusively and English word and not a particularly attractive one at that. It is still used on the odd occasion these days, but with the increasing prevelance of ‘political correctness’, the occupation would probably be better described as ‘cleaning operative’, much better, don’t you think?

  2. You found some great words this week. I read this book several decades ago and, although I don’t remember the content, I have warm feelings for it. That tells me I should read it again.

  3. I just read the plot of that one on Wikipedia… Yuck!
    The context here is much lighter, as in: remaining inside the workshop for days on end, and as long as there is work to do.

Ditelo con parole vostre/Let your words be heard

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