Wednesday 13 March 2013

Wondrous Words 13/3/13

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.  

Whilst I didn't love The Prisoner of Zenda when I read it recently, I did appreciate the vocabulary. Lots of wonderful words like physiognomy, capacious and roisterers (one of my previous Wondrous Words). There were also some new words for me of course. 

1. Morganatic (Adjective)

It was quite possible that she, as George put it, was flying as high as a personage who was everything he could be, short of enjoying strictly royal rank: for the duke was the son of the late King of Ruritania by a second and morganatic marriage, and half-brother to the new king. 

Of or being a legal marriage between a person of royal or noble birth and a partner of lower rank, in which it is agreed that no titles or estates of the royal or noble partner are to be shared by the partner of inferior rank nor by any of the offspring of the marriage. 

2. Archiepiscopal (Adjective)

I saw nothing of the brilliant throng that filled it, I hardly distinguished the stately figure of the Cardinal as he rose from the archiepiscopal throne to greet me. 

Of or associated with an archbishop. 
3. Pikestaff (Noun)

It's as plain as a pikestaff.

i) The shaft of a pike.
ii) A waking stick tipped with a metal spike. 

4. Demesne

It is rising ground, and in the centre of the demesne, on top of the hill, stands a fine modern chateau, the property of a distant kinsman of Fritz's, the Count Stanislas von Tarlenheim. 

i) Law. Possession and use of one's own land.
i) Manorial land retained for the private use of a feudal lord. 
iii) The grounds belonging to a mansion or country house.
iv) An extensive piece of landed property; an estate.
v) A district; a territory.
vi) A realm; a domain

Picture source
I don't think I could describe my backyard, whilst large by suburban standards, as a demesne. 

5. Embrasure (Noun)

But Johann, swept with the rest to the rescue of the duke, did not open it; nay, he took a part against Rupert, putting himself forward more bravely than any in his anxiety to avert suspicion; and he had received a wound, in the embrasure of the window. 

i) An opening in a thick wall for a door or window, especially one with sides angled so that the opening is larger on the inside of the wall than on the outside. 
ii) A flared opening for a gun in a wall or parapet. 

Picture source
Sadly my house doesn't have any embrasures, so I don't know how well I'll remember the term. 

All definitions from


Brona said...

Egad! No wonder the book put you off Louise!
I had only ever heard of embrasure before thanks to all my historical fiction reading.
I like the picture too.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Surprised we don't have embrasures everywhere here in Texas. Easier, I suppose, to carry a concealed weapon.

Anonymous said...

Some great new hard to pronounce words.

Julia Tomiak said...

I'm with Brona- what language to plow through. Thanks for the enlightenment, and especially the pictures. Glad you got something out of the book!

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Louise,

Whilst we don't have any embrasures in our modest house, as a nation, we have so many castles that I know the word and have done since being a child.

We certainly don't have enough land to class as a 'demesne', although I could try dropping that one into a conversation and see what sort of reaction I get, especially if I happen to meet someone who doesn't know us or where we live!! Like that one as a new word...

I know 'archiepiscopal' but 'morganatic' is another new one to me, despite the aforementioned 'castle' connection. I definitely know that my own marriage is not a morganatic one .... unfortunately!!

I loved this post, it was so interesting, even though I am not sure that the book is one for me.


Margot said...

From the sentences I can see why you were put off by the book. I'm sure the only good thing were these great words for your Wednesday post.

Debbie Rodgers said...

After all the new words in The Warden, I'm at capacity for a while, so I think I'll pass on The Prisoner of Zenda. ;-)