Wednesday 28 September 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday 28/9/11

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

My first word today comes from an article in the SMH on an author I wasn't familiar with, Helen Hodgman.

Anomie (noun)

The story of Blue Skies, about a young mother in a state of anomie, has echoes of Hodgman's own experience.

1. Social instability caused by erosion of standards and values.
2. Alienation and purposelessness experienced by a person or a class as a result of a lack of standards, values or ideals. The Free Dictionary.

This next one is from a blog post on Charlotte's Library, a review of Come Back, Lucy.

Spillikins (noun)

Lucy has lived a very quiet childhood brought up by her extremely old-fashioned aunt--playing spillikins and croquet, educated at home, and generally out-of-step with modern (1970s) children.

The game of jackstraws. The Free Dictionary.

Well that doesn't help, I haven't heard of jackstraws either. 

The thesaurus part of the Free Dictionary helps. A game in which players try to pick each jackstraw (or spillikin) off a pile without moving any of the others.

Ah, what I would have called Pick Up Sticks. I think spillikins is a better name.

My final words today comes from Walter Farley's 1941 classic The Black Stallion.

Huckster (Noun)

Alec helped to harness old Napoleon to the little huckster's wagon.

The Free Dictionary has three definitions
1.One who sells wares or provisions in the street; a peddler or hawker.
2.One who uses aggressive, showy, and sometimes devious methods to promote or sell a product.
3.Informal. One who writes advertising copy, especially for radio or television.

Clearly Walter Farley was using the first meaning.

Tony's wagon might have looked like this
Hobbyhorse (Noun)

Made the track record look like it was made by a hobbyhorse.

Again 3 definitions from The Free Dictionary
1. A child's riding toy that consists of a long stick with an imitation horse's head on one end.
2. A figure of a horse worn attached to the waist of a mummer, as in a morris dance.
3. A topic that one frequently brings up or dwells on; a fixation.

Ah, if I'd ever known that these were called hobbyhorses then I'd forgotten that! Of course these days I'm much more familiar with the "getting on one's hobbyhorse" usage.


Anonymous said...

I knew hobbyhorse in this sense only, not in the fixation sense :-) As for spillikins/jackstraws, I'm familiar with the game but know it as mikado which, according to wikipedia, was a brand name...

bermudaonion said...

We say pick-up sticks too, although I don't think kids play that anymore. I do like the sound of spillikins!

Margot said...

Wow, you've come across a nice group of good words. I knew none of them but I do know how to play pick-up-sticks.

Anonymous said...

I knew of huckster, good words.

Annie said...

I like the way you give us all the definitions of a word ! And I like paticurlarly the "hobbyhorse". I offered one to my nephew whehe was a little boy and he ran through all the house 's rooms with it !

Anonymous said...

Our newest word ... from a crossword ... is ESCULENT. But I'm going to let you look it up as we did - unless of course you already know it which you could very well do given your interest in things cuisine.

Louise said...

Ah such an excellent word Sue. i didn't know it at all. Just wondering if it would sound pretentious in my next foodie blog post!