Wednesday 1 May 2013

Wondrous Words Wednesday - Pure by Andrew Miller

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a lovely meme hosted by Bermuda Onion each week to highlight new (to us) words that we come across in our daily reading.

This week I'm reading the winner of the 2011 Costa Novel Award, Pure by Andrew Miller.

It's set in Paris just prior to the Revolution and I have a number of new words to check out.

Definitions come from the free dictionary.

Escritoire - "He glides to the gleaming walnut of the escritoire, removes from one of its drawers a little picture in a frame..."

Obviously it's a piece of furniture, but I like to have a picture in my mind.

1. A writing table; a desk.
2. A desk with a top section for books.


Charnel - "They start with the south charnel, a gallery of blackened stone adjacent to the rue de la Ferronnerie." 

A repository for the bones or bodies of the dead; a charnel house.
Resembling, suggesting, or suitable for receiving the dead.
Baroques - "What baroques even a mind like his is capable of."
I know this word from it's art, music and architecture usage, but I've never seen it used like this before.
1. Anything extravagantly ornamented, especially something so ornate as to be in bad taste.
2. Characterized by grotesqueness, extravagance, complexity, or flamboyance.
Lucency - "The cloak, the height, that steady gaze lit by the mist's own odd lucency, a faint blue-like light radiating from everywhere and nowhere."
The sentence basically gives us the definition in context and I'm assuming a relationship with translucent...
1. Giving off light; luminous.
2. Translucent; clear.


  1. I knew escritoire from the little bit of French I can remember. I've never seen baroque used like that either - interesting!

  2. Anonymous2/5/13

    Baroques sounded familiar to me, I never heard of the others.

  3. Escritoire is fancy looking and sounding! I enjoyed your words this week.

  4. Hi Brona,

    I knew all of your words this week, with the exception of 'lucency'.

    Actually, I was quite impressed with myself, as memories of my schoolday French lessons obviously haven't deserted me entirely!

    I was intrigued by the cover art of 'Pure' and decided to check it out. I have to say that I was even more intrigued by the Amazon synopsis and have subsequently added this one to my reading list, so thanks for the introduction.

    Interesting post this week,


  5. What lovely words Brona. I knew all of them to some extent- lucency was the one I knew best. I'd forgotten charnel house. That was a new usage for baroques for me too.

  6. My husband inherited a beautiful writing desk from his father's mother. How nice to have this lovely new word to go with it. I like escritoire better than writing desk.


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