Wondrous Words Wednesday: Paul Gallico

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!

It’s been a while since my last WWW post, but as work is slower than usual today I can finally manage one. My words for this week come from Scruffy by Paul Gallico.


You know how Scruffy is about his scoff — when he wants monkey-nuts there’s no two ways about it.

Scoff: n. food


Scruffy was one of the ugliest specimens of magot, scientifically known as macaca silvania simia, the African tail-less macaque, or Barbary ape.

Magot: n. a macaque with no tail. Found in the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and Morocco with a small population, of unknown origin, in Gibraltar.
*According to Wikipedia, magot is just another name for the Barbary apes. The above definition comes from the Barbary macaque page.

Image credits: Wikipedia


It had been an extraordinarily good spring, with just enough rain, and the Chaplain’s vegetables were in fine fettle.

Fettle: n. condition


The tickling of an ormolu bedroom clock annoyed him, so he stopped it the only way he knew how — by pounding it on the floor until its innards came out.

ormolu: n. a gold-coloured alloy of copper, zinc, and tin used in decoration and making ornaments.

Image credits: mharrsch on Flickr


The open window beckoned him like a lodestone.

lodestone: n. a piece of magnetite or other naturally magnetized mineral, able to be used as a magnet.


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


8 comments on “Wondrous Words Wednesday: Paul Gallico

  1. Me too! Also, you can use it as a verb to mean “to eat quickly and greedily”, but I guess that could cause confusion with the usual meaning of “to scoff” 🙂

  2. Great words. I’ve only known scoff as the verb- you may “scoff down” your dinner for instance. I like how words like fettle are often used in combinations such as “fine fettle”,

Ditelo con parole vostre/Let your words be heard

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