Wednesday 8 February 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday 8/2/12

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.  

A Visit from the Goon Squad was such a rich source of new words, that I made two weeks posts from it. This is the second one. The first is here

1. Contretemps (Noun)

Of course, our little contretemps has been enormously helpful to Kitty. 

An unforseen event that disrupts the normal course of things; an inopportune occurence. The Free Dictionary. 

2. Egg Creams (Noun)

'Still the second band,' Sasha says, so you walk up the street for egg creams at the Russian newsstand and drink them on a bench in Tompkins Square Park, which just reopened last summer. 

Conceptually, I really don't know about that. Anyone ever had one?

3. Deliquesced (Verb)

But eventually a sort of amnesia had overtaken Susan; her rebellion and hurt had melted away, deliquesced into a sweet, eternal sunniness that was terrible in the way that life would be terrible, Ted supposed, without death to give it gravitas and shape. 

i. a) To met away
b) To disappear as if by melting. 
ii. Chemistry. To dissolve and become liquid by absorbing moisture from the air. 
ii. Botany
a) To branch out into numerous subdivisions that lack a main axis, as the stem of an elm.
b) To become fluid or soft on maturing, as certain fungi. The Free Dictionary.

4. Spoors (Noun)

They were not permitted to so much as knock upon the door to the room in which he thought and wrote about art, but Ted hadn't found a way to keep them from prowling outside it, ghostly feral creatures drinking from a pond in moonlight, their bare feet digging at the carpet, their fingers sweating on the walls, leaving spoors of grease that Ted would point out each week to Elsa, the cleaning woman. 

The track or trail of an animal, especially a wild animal. 

Picture credit

5. Majolica

Apart from the marriage itself, the casualties by summer's end included the majolica plate Ted had given Beth for her birthday; sundry items of damaged furniture; Beth's left shoulder, which Andy dislocated twice; and her collarbone, which he broke. 

An English version of the Italian word maiolica, is a term covering a wide variety of European tin-glazed pottery, typically brightly painted over an opaque white background glaze, with an earthenware body. Wiki.

Picture credit

6. Demimonde (Noun)

The irony of finding himself smack in the midst of the demimonde he'd tried to avoid amused Ted. 

i. a) A class of women kept by wealthy lovers or protectors.
b) Women prostitutes as a group.
ii. A group whose respectability is dubious or whose success is marginal. The Free Dictionary. 

The broader context of demimonde as used in the book, is clearly the third one. 

7. Dandling (Verb)

Bands had no choice but to reinvent themselves for the preverbal; even Biggie had released yet another posthumous album whose title song was a remix of a Biggie standard, 'Fuck You, Bitch', to sound like 'You're Big, Chief!' with an accompanying picture of Biggie dandling a toddler in Native American headdress. 

i) To move (a small child) up and down on the knees or in the arms in a playful way.
ii) To pamper or pet. The Free Dictionary. 

Picture credit
I just love this word. Everyone does this, but I never knew there was a word for it. And in a magnificent piece of synchronicity- it's in the next TWO books that I've read too! Never seen it before, and now dandling is everywhere!

8. Reify

Alex had loved the glasses for their inability to suppress Rebecca's sexy beauty, but lately he wasn't so sure; the glasses, along with Rebecca's prematurely graying hair and the fact that she was so often short on sleep, threatened to reify her disguise into an identity: a fragile, harried academic slaving to finish a book while teaching two courses and chairing several committees. 

To regard or treat (an abstraction) as if it had concrete or material existence. The Free Dictionary. 


Anonymous said...

Dandling is the proof that English has a word for just about everything! That's good!
And I wanted to mention something about majolica: I am positive that it was spelled that way in Italian, sometime in the past. So probably it entered English at that time, then we changed the Italian spelling later :-)

bermudaonion said...

I love Majolica! I've heard of egg creams, and always thought they had eggs in them. Obviously, I've never had one. I feel like I should have known contretemps, but I didn't.

Annie said...

Numerous and intersting words, Louise. I knew some of them because they are French (contretemps, demi-monde) or look like French words (majolique). I like a lot the spoors... always mysterious !

Anonymous said...

I like the word egg creams, never heard of the others.

Margot said...

You have given us such an interesting array of words today. The majolica are quite beautiful but spoors has me thinking about hikes in the high country. We love to come across spoors in the dirt and try to identify them.

Elizabeth said...

Awesome your words and the great explanations.

Stopping by from Bermdaonion's happy to have found you.



Susan said...

Great words. I am going to have to read that book!

Suko said...

Wonderful post and words! I had egg creams, many, many years ago, but never knew what they were made of before!