Thursday, 17 March 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday 16/3/11




Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bermuda Onion, where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our weekly reading.  


I have just recently read Peter Ackroyd's The Lambs of London. And while I wasn't completely besotted with this book, it did have a lot of great words in it.


1. Mantua-maker

There was a pipe shop here as well as a mantua-maker, a carpenter's workshop and a bookshop.

Hmm, no clues there really. Seems a mantua-maker was basically a dressmaker or seamstress. It's astonishing how a whole industry can become defunct and near unknown.

A more preposterous mantua

2. Jakes

'The city is a great jakes.'

I didn't understand this sentence at all, which was a worry to me as it was in the very first paragraph of the book.

Jakes (n) from my Shorter Oxford
1. A privy, a lavatory
2. Excrement, filth

It all makes so much sense now that I have looked up the meaning. And explains the very first sentence of the book. ' I loathe the stench of horses.'

3. Harlequinade

He had no recollection of William Ireland, who had been seated by the door of the Salutation and Cat; Ireland had in fact been partially obscured by a wooden pillar around which various advertisements- for a harlequinade, for an exhibition of acrobatics- had been pasted.

Harlequinade(n) from my Shorter Oxford
1. A kind of pantomime; the part of a pantomime in which a harlequin plays the chief part.
- a piece of buffoonery
2. A piece of gaily-coloured variegated work.

4. Mullioned

William stood in front of them, having refused the offer of a chair, and looked out of a small mullioned window at the dome of St Paul's.

Mullion (n) from my Shorter Oxford
A vertical bar in the lights in a window, esp in Gothic architecture.


I know that I've looked this one up before. Maybe I'll remember it this time.


But the best word I came across this week was goatsucker. And I found it accidentally, flipping through a crossword dictionary at a book store.

Goatsucker is another name for the birds otherwise known as nightjars (of which I have heard, but know essentially nothing of, and don't believe we have them in Australia).

The more observant amongst you will have noticed that I could only be bothered getting the A-M off the shelf. You will have to wait until another time for the more abundant N-Z words.

5 comments:

Tribute Books Mama said...

Love the new words, thanks!

Margot said...

I like the way you presented all your new words. You made them personal. I had to laugh at your comment about the A-M off the shelf. Truth is you only did G-M. Yes, some of us are terribly observant. This was a fun post. Thanks.

Bev Hankins said...

Good words! I knew mullioned, but that's it. Here are my words for the week: http://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2011/03/wondrous-words-wednesday_16.html

bermudaonion said...

Those are all great words and I'm thrilled that I knew mullioned! I can't believe that mantua - can you imagine wearing that? Thanks for participating.

Louise said...

Thanks for visiting Tribute Books Mama.

Thanks Margot- you're very observant! Glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks Bev, mullioned does seem to come up a bit, and so far I've only managed to remember that I knew it before.

Thanks Kathy. No, I can't imagine wearing that mantua. At least you'd have a great excuse for doing nothing- it would be absolutely impossible to do anything useful, even moving would be tricky, doorways for instance.