Wondrous Words Wednesday: George R.R. Martin

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 A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin.I’d like to start by saying that in the very first pages I found the word “wyvern”, which was explained by Read Handed in her WWW post last week. Here’s the bit:

The maester stood on the windswept balcony outside his chambers. It was here the ravens came, after long flight. Their droppings speckled the gargoyles that rose twelve feet tall on either side of him, a hellhound and a wyvern, two of the thousand that brooded over the walls of the ancient fortress.

So thank you Read Handed and thank you Wondrous Words Wednesday! And now to my new words.


Ser Hobber trotted in from the east, riding a black stallion caparisoned in burgundy and blue.

Be caparisoned: v. be decked out in rich decorative coverings.
n. an ornamental covering spread over a horse’s saddle or harness.

Photo credits: huvisian on Flickr

I had found a better photo, almost in the right colors too, but it’s copyrighted, so I’ll just point you over to it. If you enjoy jousts and medieval costumes, have a look at the rest of the page where I found it.


Do you think he would like me better if I wore a hair shirt and never smiled? Well, I will not do it. I am an honest man, he must suffer me in silk and samite.

Samite: n. a rich silk fabric interwoven with gold and silver threads, made in the Middle Ages.

Photo credits: Chi (back in Oz) on Flickr

Not really samite in the picture, but still, that’s the idea. Luxurious! 🙂


He had given him a place of honor at his table, a war galley to sail in place of a smuggler’s skiff.

Skiff: n. a light rowing boat or sculling boat, typically for one person.

While I couldn’t see exactly what kind of boat it was, I knew immediately it was something to sail on. Etymologically, it’s clearly the same word as ship. And by the way, if you like etymology, have a look at Anatoly Liberman’s piece on this subject (i.e. ships): part 1, part 2, and, oh, boat  too!

Photo credits: M J M on Flickr


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


11 comments on “Wondrous Words Wednesday: George R.R. Martin

  1. Funny to have wyvern come up twice so soon. I knew skiff was a boat but the others were all new to me. Thanks for the pictures too- the fabric is lovely.

  2. @ all: thanks for visiting! Apparently skiff was the most popular word 🙂
    @ Peggy and Margot: I’m not sure it’s a good/interesting book. It’s in line with everything the first one promised, which means I am enjoying it, despite a handful of limitations and issues that mar it somewhat.

Ditelo con parole vostre/Let your words be heard

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