Wednesday 9 May 2012

Wondrous Words 9/5/12

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.  

Both my words this week come from my perusings of the Sydney Morning Herald Saturday edition- usually many weeks after it was published. This first word comes from an interesting profile of writer and potter Edmund de Waal, author of The Hare with Amber Eyes. 

1. Adamantine.

The kind of adamantine, hard icy core to the creative life is that the work matters.

i) Made of or resembling adamant
ii) Having the hardness or luster of a diamond
iii) Unyielding; inflexible

I thought it was going to be an actual substance, but it appears it's not so. I'm just old enough that I can't get this image out of my head though. 

Picture credit

The second word comes from an fascinating review of a book called Alexander Macleay: From Scotland to Sydney. Macleay was an early figure in Sydney society, although more on the margins than I previously believed it seems. The Macleay Museum at Sydney University (which I walked past pretty much every day for a decade or so, but never entered!) is named after him, and he built Elizabeth Bay House. Fascinating to learn that he loved wisteria and introduced it into Australia, and that his daughter Rosa Onslow probably gave us lantana- now a noxious weed. 

2. Termagant

Relatively little was known of him before he arrived in Sydney, but before long he was being ridiculed: his daughters were said to be well educated but neither pretty nor wealthy, and his wife a termagant. 

A quarrelsome, scolding woman; a shrew. The Free Dictionary

I'm not sure Alexander had all that good a time of it actually. 


bermudaonion said...

I saw a word in my mom's newspaper last weekend and didn't write it down. :\ I really like adamantine and think I can use it if I can figure out how to pronounce it. I had to watch Adam Ant on YouTube after seeing the picture you posted.

Libby said...

Poor Alexander - married to a termagant - LOL! That is a good word...

Anonymous said...

These are two fascinating words.

Tea said...

I've seen that word. Never knew what it meant.

Sim Carter said...

Adam Ant ine!? Louise you are brilliant. I love that!
And I like termagent too! Never heard of that one. I will try not to be too much of a termagent when my husband and I move next week but moving does stress the soul ...and the temper!