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Wondrous Words Wednesday


That time of week again, already. Where we explore any new Wondrous Words we’ve encountered in our reading for the past week. This project is hosted by Kathy at Bermudaonion’s Weblog, so if you have your own great new words, go leave a comment there as well as here, linking us to your post about them.

I only have one word today, from the book I’m reading and about which I did the Teaser yesterday — The Exodus Quest, by Will Adams.

1) talatat – (from stone blocks of standardized size (ca. 27 by 27 by 54 cm, corresponding to ½ by ½ by 1 ancient Egyptian cubits); used during the reign of Akhenaton in the building of the Aton temples at Karnak and Akhetaten. The standardized size and their small weight made construction more efficient. … reused by Horemheb and Ramesses II as filler material for pylons and as foundations for large buildings. The Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak is built on thousands of these blocks, as is the Second Pylon. … Tens of thousands of the talatat have been recovered. The decorated stones are being photographed and the scenes they depict are reconstructed.

Fascinating stuff! I knew about the blocks from the Amarna buildings being re-used in many other buildings, so that the only way you would ever recover them would be to destroy other valuable edifices. But I never knew what they were called.

Wondrous Words Wednesday


It’s that time of week again, that time when we talk about and define words that we’ve encountered in our reading in the past seven days. This exercise was created by Kathy at Bermudaonion’s Blog, so if you have new words this week, leave some links for me in the comments, but be sure to go there and add yours to her list.

Meanwhile, as usual, I’m cheating a bit.

1) ambuscade – ambush; to attack from a concealed position; to lie in wait, ready to attack from that position.

This word comes from the Old French, “embuschier,” and Old Italian, “imboscare.” They stem, ultimately, from the Frankish word, “boscu,” which meant “bush” or “woods.” Fascinating development.

I didn’t actually encounter this old, lovely word in a book. It’s part of the title of a collage done by a friend of mine, made with pieces from some old Victorian illustrations: A Brazen Ambuscade. This collage is part of a wonderful set of similar works, called Mysteries of Amorvaine. Check it out if you can.

2) infirmarian – (in a religious house) a person who nurses the sick.

This is from a book, but it’s still sort of cheating, since it’s from yesterday’s Tuesday Teaser, about The Traitor’s Tale by Margaret Frazer, and I haven’t as that far yet. 🙂

So those are my words this week. Got any of your own?

Wondrous Words Wednesday

wondrous-wordsTime for another foray into the wondrous world of words we haven’t seen before. This is the Wednesday meme, begun by Kathy at Bermudaonion’s Weblog, where we post new words we’ve encountered in the past week’s reading, along with their definitions and the context in which we read them.

I have a couple from The Know-it-All, by A.J. Jacobs, which I’m still working my way through as a bedtime book. One is a short phrase where the words aren’t new, but what they’re describing is. Another is a word I hadn’t seen before — probably because it’s Babylonian. And the other is a word I’ve seen around, but never knew (or at least never remembered) the meaning of:

1) patch box – This is exactly what it says, though that doesn’t explain anything. But it’s a box — that holds patches. In the days of Louis XV of France, little patches to put on the face were very fashionable. That’s right: beauty spots! And apparently, the people at court really went to town with the things, making some of them quite decorative.

As A.J. Jacobs writes, “Placement was also important, seeing as these patches had their own language: a patch at the corner of the eye sumbolized passion, while one at the middle of the forehead indicated dignity. Women carried their patch boxes with them, in case they wanted to slap on a fresh one during the royal ball.” (p. 252)

2) qa – A Babylonian liquid measurement. (Jacobs doesn’t say how big the measurement was.)

3) quodlibet – A free-ranging conversation on any topic that pleases you. Hm, that seems to describe almost every conversation in which I engage.

Got any Wondrous Words of your own?

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wheeeee! First Wondrous Words Wednesday at the new blog! (You knew I had to do another “first,” didn’t you?)


This meme, started and hosted at Bermudaonion’s blog, involves taking new words you’ve encountered during the week’s reading, and posting them along with their definitions.

In my case, this week, I’ve been so busy editing that I’ve barely done any reading, and don’t even remember if I encountered any new words in the few paragraphs I’ve managed.

But I did have to look up a word today in another context, and a lot of people might not know it, so I’ll include that one this time. And do much better next week!

discommode – to cause inconvenience to; to disturb, trouble, or bother

Believe it or not, I thought of the word in context of a cat being shut in a room (seriously inconveniencing it while cleaners were operating vacuums in the main house). But it’s also the sort of word I’m sure you’d read in a Jane Austen book. Can’t you just imagine Mr. Darcy remarking stiffly, “Miss Bennett, you and your sisters have seriously discommoded this establishment. I bid you good day.”

Anyway, that’s the first Wondrous Word in our new home. Happy reading!

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