Wednesday 30 March 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday 30/3/11

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.  

Here's some more Wondrous Words from my recent reading of Peter Ackroyd's Lambs of London.

1. Posset. Noun.

Rosa Ponting and his father were sitting by a sea-coal fire, drawing up a list of acquaintances to whom a Christmas posset might usefully be sent. 

1. A drink of hot milk curdled with ale, wine or other liquor, often flavoured with sugar or spices formerly much drunk as a delicacy or medicinally.
2. A quantity of milk regurgitated  by a baby. 

I've seen recipes for lemon possets recently but thought that this must be a different usage. It doesn't seem to be, as baby possets are a gift that noone wants. Interesting to see that possets required their own posset pots.

2. Tosh-hunters. Noun.
She looked across the expanse of waste ground, where there were two or three smoke-houses for the preservation and smoking of fish as well as the remains of a dust-heap that had been abandoned by the rag-pickers and the tosh-hunters.

My Shorter Oxford doesn't have tosh-hunters, but it does have tosher, which I assume is similar enough
1. A person who searches for valuables in drains and sewers.
2. A thief stealing copper from the bottom of ships. Now rare or obsolete.

I like how the second definition is regarded as rare or obsolete but the first one isn't!

3. Orotund. Adjective

Kemble, thick-set and orotund, had become Vortigern.

1. Of a voice, utterance, etc: full, round, imposing; clear, resonant.
2. Of writing, style of expression, etc; inflated and pretentious. 

4. Sylvan. Noun. Adjective

This is sylvan. This is yesteryear. 

Sylvan can be either a noun or an adjective

Noun. A native or inhabitant of a wood or forest
- Classical Mythology- an imaginary being believed to haunt woods or groves, a spirit of the woods
- a person living in a wood, or in a woodland region; a forester
- a creature, esp. a bird, living in or frequenting the woods
- (rare) a woodland tree, shrub, etc

1. Of, pertaining to, situated in, or characteristic of a wood, or woods.
2. Consisting of or formed by woods or trees.
3. Having or characterized by woods or trees; wooded.

I still found the usage from The Lambs of London confusing. They do appear to be talking about woodland setting for a stage production. They are worried about an actor catching her wig in the branches. And another character has a plateau of rock on which to flourish.

5. Woad. Noun.
They (warriors with spears and shields) have been painted with woad.

1. A blue dye (now superseded by indigo and synthetic dyes) prepared from the leaves of Isatis tinctoria dried, powdered, and exposed to air.

2 A glaucous yellow-flowered cruciferous plant. Isatis tinctoria, formerly much grown for the blue colouring matter yielded by it.
Woad has a fascinating history, and new uses are being invented for it even in the 21st century.

6. Traduced. Verb
"Is William to be questioned and traduced by anyone who proclaims himself an authority?"

1. Convey from one place to another; transport. Translate. Transfer.
2. Pass on to offspring, transmit.
3. Speak ill of, malign, slander, misrepresent. Formerly also, state slanderously; blame for, accuse of. 

All meanings today from my Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (N-Z). I think my favourite word this week is woad. Rather fascinating. 


bermudaonion said...

Sylvan is very interesting. I wonder why so many businesses use it as their names - like Sylvan Learning Centers. Thanks for playing along!

Annie said...

I like posset and the blue and white posset- pot !

Tea said...

The possett pot is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! for sharing these, liked the posset-pot.

Margot said...

You found such interesting words and presented them to us beautifully. I especially like the picture of the blue posset pot.

Kath Lockett said...

I still call my Sapphire 'posset' occasionally after the nurse in the maternity ward asked me, still bleeding and recovering from a 29 hour labour, "Any posset from the baby yet?"

Louise said...

I wasn't expecting the posset pot would be such a hit!

That's pretty funny Kath- if Sapphire ever works out what posset means, she'll be upset....

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Louise,

Tosh-Hunter has to be my favourite and the one that I had no idea of the meaning.

I'm not sure when I would be able to fit it into a sentence, but it would certainly be fun to try and even better to see people's reactions when I did!!

Orotound is also a brilliant word, conjuring up all kinds of images!!

Thanks for the great way you present your words, I am certainly glad that I discovered this meme.


Louise said...

Hi Yvonne, Yes it's a great meme, I'm glad I found it too. I don't have the time to participate every week myself, but like reading the other posts regardless. Tosh-hunters is a great word, and I think could be adapted quite well for the 21st century. Orotund is wonderful too, but so close to rotund that I find it a bit confusing/distracting.

Scribacchina said...

Oh how I love your words this week! Wonderful, really!