Wednesday 15 February 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday 15/2/12

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 words this week are from Michael Scott's The Magician

1. Traceries (Noun)

Rattling traceries of light darted up and down the metal. 

i) A pattern of interlacing ribs, especially as used in the upper part of a Gothic window, etc
ii) Any fine pattern resembling this. The Free Dictionary.

Picture credit

2. Greaves (Noun)

It hardened and solidified, becoming metallic and reflective, molding itself into a breastplate and greaves, gloves and boots, before finally solidifying into a complete medieval suit of armor. 

An odd word, clearly greaves here refers to a part of armour. And indeed the armour covering shins are called greaves. In a different world to mine it seems that there is a vibrant market for greaves, google is flooded with images of them in metal and leather. All for sale. I'm not sure where you wear them though these days. 

Picture credit

But when you look up dictionaries you get this:
The unmelted residue left after animal fat has been rendered. The Free Dictionary. 

3. Cantrips (Noun)

Once she was in the open air, she could use any of a dozen simple spells, cantrips and incantations she knew that would make the sphinx's existence a misery. 

i) Scots. A magic spell; a witch's trick.
ii) Chiefly British. A deceptive move; a sham. The Free Dicitonary. 

4. Abhuman

He commanded an army of human, inhuman and abhuman agents; he had access to the birds of the air; he could command rats, cats and dogs. 

I'm not exactly sure how abhuman differs from inhuman. Wiki has an abhuman entry, where it is described as a term first used by William Hope Hodgson in several of his novels, but then it doesn't really describe how he used it. I hadn't heard of Hodgson before, horror isn't really my genre either, even if it was written 100 years ago. Apparently, abhuman is used in the Warhammer games, of which I only hold vague notions, to mean mutated descendents of humans. 


bermudaonion said...

I love the detail work in traceries and never even know what they're called! All of your words are new to me. I'm obviously not reading the right books!

Anonymous said...

Traceries is a beautiful word.
Can't help you with horror usage (I try never to read horror books), but from your sentence I understand that the army was made of
1. humans
2. inhumans=non humans=animals, robots, whatever
3. abhumans=not fully human=zombies? Fauns?
Thanks for sharing!

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Traceries - very descriptive and appropriate with all the photos I take of churches in Paris... merci!

I love words like "cantrips" that just roll off the tongue. I am not sure how I will use it in everyday conversation but it may come in handy playing Words with Friends - hah!


Anonymous said...

Love the photos along with the description of the words.

Margot said...

I have noticed and loved traceries without knowing it had a special name. That's one I'll not forget.

Annie said...

Thanks for the photos : they helped me to understand the words !

Vicki said...

All are new to me! I love learning new words!!

Alyce said...

The only one I knew with any certainty was "greaves" - I learned about it while reading one of the classics, The Aeneid I think, in college.

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