Wednesday 14 May 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday

I'm reading The Reef by Edith Wharton as part of my Wharton Review month.

I've just passed the half way mark and so far, Edith has thrown up a few curly words that I thought I would share on Wondrous Words Wednesday.

Today I have used The Oxford online dictionary for my definitions.

"but these traces of his passage had made no mark on the featureless dulness of the room, its look of being the makeshift setting of innumerable transient collocations."

1. The habitual juxtaposition of a particular word with another word or words with a frequency greater than chance:
eg. 'the words have a similar range of collocation'
  • 1.1 A pair of words that are habitually juxtaposed:‘strong tea’ and ‘heavy drinker’ are typical English collocations
2. The action of placing things side by side or in position:
eg. 'the collocation of the two pieces'

"From the escutcheoned piers at the entrance of the court a level drive, also shaded by limes..."

1. A shield or emblem bearing a coat of arms.
2. escutcheon plate A flat piece of metal for protection and often ornamentation, around a keyhole, door handle, or light switch.

"There's the whole pusillanimous truth of it!"

Showing a lack of courage or determination; timid.

"Through the crepuscular whiteness the trees hung in blotted masses."

  • 1Resembling or relating to twilight.
  • 1.1Zoology (Of an animal) appearing or active in twilight.
"Arguments, expedients, palliations, evasions, all seemed to be slipping away from him..."


  • 1 Make (a disease or its symptoms) less severe without removing the cause:treatment works by palliating symptoms pharmaceutical drugs palliate, they do not cure

  • 2Disguise the seriousness of (an offence):there is no way to excuse or palliate his dirty deed
  • 2.1Allay or moderate (fears or suspicions):this eliminated, or at least palliated, suspicions aroused by German unity

"in the ladylike and lachrymal sense of the term"

• formal or • literary Connected with weeping or tears:that hysterical, then lachrymal, then guilt-ridden hour
This ended up being a lengthier post than first anticipated, but I think that crepuscular could become my new favourite word as I sit on my front verandah watching the sunsets.


  1. I have to wonder if people used words like that in their every day language back then. I've run across crepuscular but the other words are totally new to me.

  2. Interesting use of the term collocation. I've come across the words countless times, as it is widely used in Linguistics, but I had never seen it used in that context. I'm familiar with several of the others, but I would definitely never use them in my daily life.

    Great and informative post :-).

  3. The only one familiar to me was escutcheoned, and then I can't spell it with out checking. Certainly non of these words will be used in my every day speech, but I like knowing them.

  4. Anonymous14/5/14

    I like "lachrymal." Of course now I have to look up whether I am pronouncing it correctly. :)

  5. Reading The Age of Innocence - I cannot even tell you how many words I have circled that need looking up. Wharton is word warrior.

  6. Whew! All of these words trip up my tongue! Thanks for sharing. Crepuscular doesn't mean what I thought it did. It's an unattractive word to describe a beautiful time of day.

  7. Anonymous15/5/14

    All new to me , thanks! for sharing.

  8. Lachrymal and crepuscular are known to me, I think I added the lachrymal a few weeks ago. Both these words cropped up in Parade's End.

  9. I do like the word "crepuscular". I have heard it before but it just rolls off the tongue. Too bad people don't use more of the many vocabulary words we have access to. Great fun.

  10. All new words for me, I enjoy reading each one.


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