Wondrous Words Wednesday: Tim Powers (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 Drawing of the Dark by Tim Powers (luckily there were less new words after the first chapter, but still a good crop!). Also, see my gushing over this book here.


The sail was unfurled on its dozen brailing lines, and bellied in the cold morning wind.

brail: v. (brail something up) furl a sail by hauling on the brails.
brail: n. (brails) small ropes that are led from the leech of a fore-and-aft sail to pulleys on the mast for temporarily furling it.

Here they are, courtesy of Wikipedia:


“We won’t make any more schenk this year,” he said gravely. “When these kegs are empty we’ll open the bock.”

schenk: a beer brewed in the winter by the bottom-fermentation process for immediate consumption and not stored like lager
*This definition comes from Merriam-Webster online

bock: n. a strong lager of German origin.
*This definition comes from Wikipedia

Of course, I know nothing of beer. I’m just starting to imagine the width of possibilities and differences held behind that simple word. I don’t think I’ll ever grasp it really.


Well, in the future conduct your horseplay on your own time

horseplay: n. rough, boisterous play


He found the table at which Eilif’s armsmaster was dispensing harquebuses, and took a long-barreled matchlock and pouches of powder and balls.

matchlock: n. an old-fashioned type of gun with a lock in which a piece of wick was used for igniting the powder.

According to Wikipedia, the matchlock is more specifically “the first mechanism, or “lock” invented to facilitate the firing of a hand-held firearm. This design removed the need to lower by hand a lit match into the weapon’s flash pan”, but I guess the author uses it in the sense of “gun”. Something like these here, courtesy of Wikipedia:


They’re not just fierce, like the akinji or the iayalars; they’re smart as well.

I wasn’t able to find a definition for iayalars, but from a Google search I found out that they were a body of soldiers from the Ottoman army, possibly fighting under the effect of drugs.


Apparently these haywagon boys were carrying firepots or slowmatches.

firepot: n. a container, usually earthenware, for carrying fire.
*This definition comes from Wikipedia

slowmatch: n. the very slow burning cord or twine fuse used by early gunpowder musketeers, artillerymen, and soldiers to ignite matchlock muskets, cannons, and petards. Slow matches were most suitable for use around black powder weapons because a slow match could be roughly handled without going out, and only presented a small glowing tip instead of a large flame that risked igniting nearby gunpowder.
*This definition comes from Wikipedia


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


Ditelo con parole vostre/Let your words be heard

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