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 Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire, a book I liked for the author’s language choices.
Still, in our time we girls rarely cavorted on the streets! Not hoydens, we! — more like grave novices at an abbey.
hoyden:n. dated a boisterous girl.
Fish laid to serry like roofing tiles, glinting in their own oils.
Serry:v. archaic to press together especially in ranks
*This definition comes from the Merriam Webster Dictionary online
And the villagers of March and the webfooted fen folk could see what the coming winter would be like.
fen:n. a low and marshy or frequently flooded area of land.
I had heard of the Fens, but didn’t know it could be a generic term.
We aren’t wastrels or refugees. We’re not dirty gypsies. We are your own.
wastrel:n. literary a wasteful or worthless person.
Gingerbeard has calipers, scales, tools in his eyes; he stares at Iris.
caliper:n. an instrument for measuring external or internal dimensions, typically with two hinged legs and in-turned or out-turned points.
The panels are limned in red or black line. Some of them are worked with an olive or sepia wash.
Limn:v. literary 1 represent in painting or words 2 suffuse or highlight with bright colour or light.
Margarethe is a mistress of the simples, and she can treat any ailment with an infusion or a plaster.
Simple:n. chiefly historical a medicinal herb, or a medicine made from one.
“Where’s the old goosander?” growls the creature, pushing in.
goosander:n. a large merganser (diving duck), the male of which has a dark green head and whitish underparts.
I didn’t find any reference to this word used as an insult, but the character here is referring to a man, not a real goosander.
“The Girl-Stag of the Meadow,” says Caspar as she passes him into the kitchen. “Which part are you? Girl or Stag?” But from him the remark is not an insult; it makes her chortle, and she doesn’t answer.
chortle:v. laugh in a gleeful way.
(All definitions are taken from the Concise Oxford English Dictionary © 2008 via WordReference.com unless otherwise stated.)