Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bermuda Onion, where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.
I've just finished reading Witi Ihamaera's The Whale Rider- a rather fascinating insight into modern Maori culture. I plan to write a proper post on it sometime soon, but in the meantime thought I would pass along some of the many new words I came across in this book.
Even in his lumbering years of age the whale would remember his adolescence and his master; at such moments he would send long, undulating songs of mourning through the lambent water.
1. Flickering lightly over or on a surface: lambent moonlight.
2. Effortlessly light or brilliant: lambent wit.
3. Having a gentle glow; luminous.
[Latin lambns, lambent-, present participle of lambere, to lick.]
I do love the concept of lambent, I do rather think it's such a dreary sounding word for such a beautiful phenomenon.
|pinched from flickr|
2. Susurrated (and glissandi while we're at it)
The ice cracked, moaned, shivered and susurrated with rippling glissandi, a giant organ playing a titanic symphonic.
su·sur·ra·tion also su·sur·rus
A soft, whispering or rustling sound; a murmur.
[Middle English susurracioun, from Late Latin susurrti, susurrtin-, from Latin susurrtus, past participle of susurrre, to whisper, from susurrus, whisper, ultimately of imitative origin.]
su·surrant , su·surrous adj.
n. pl. glis·san·di or glis·san·dos Music
A rapid slide through a series of consecutive tones in a scalelike passage.
[French glissade; see glissade + -ando (as in accelerando).]
The elderly female whales skirled their happiness through the sea.
v. skirled, skirl·ing, skirls
To produce a high, shrill, wailing tone. Used of bagpipes.
To play (a piece) on bagpipes.
1. The shrill sound made by the chanter pipe of bagpipes.
2. A shrill wailing sound: "The skirl of a police whistle split the stillness" (Sax Rohmer).
[Middle English skrillen, skirlen, probably of Scandinavian origin.]
The sound was plangent and sad as he tried to communicate his oneness with the young whale's mourning.
1. Loud and resounding: plangent bells.
2. Expressing or suggesting sadness; plaintive: "From a doorway came the plangent sounds of a guitar" (Malcolm Lowry).
[Latin plangns, plangent-, present participle of plangere, to strike, lament; see plk-2 in Indo-European roots.]
It's funny to note that all these words are from sections about the whales, which is actually not the major part of the book. The majority of the action centers on the people rather than the whales. But for some reason his writing about the whales had more words I didn't know. Although the people sections had many, many Maori words I didn't know. More on that later.