Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday!

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a terrific weekly meme hosted by Bermudaonion's Weblog where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun (please do!) Be sure to leave a link to your post over at Bermudaonion's Weblog.

The first three words are from Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski

He walked up the steps in the left-hand wall of the deep arch and there, in a little alcove of an office sat Madame, a bulbous hirsute old woman in the inevitable black dress, yellow-grey hair piled high on the top of her head, and surprisingly, very pale blue lascivious eyes popping too far from under their yellow wrinkled lids. (p.82)

1. Bulbous ~adj.
: fat, round, or bulging
: resembling a bulb especially in roundness or the gross enlargement of a part

2. Hirsute ~adj.
: hairy; shaggy
: covered with coarse, stiff hairs

It was not the gesture itself, not the simple act of generosity; rather it was the element of propitiation in it, the offering of all one held most dear in order to be allowed to retain happiness. (p.197)

3. Propitiation ~noun
: make peace with; atone for sin or wrongdoing
: the act of placating and overcoming distrust and animosity

The following words are from The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton:

"The transhumance has passed this way from time immemorial." (p.179)

4. Transhumance ~noun
:the seasonal migration of livestock, and the people who tend them, between lowlands and adjacent mountains.

A tone not to be gainsaid, thought Catherine, visited by the picture of Bryony, the senior partner in negotiations mode. (p. 170)

5. Gainsay ~verb (-said, -saying)
: to deny, dispute or contradict
: to speak or act against; oppose


  1. I also read Tapestry of Love (really liked it) but didn't catch those words. All good ones.

  2. I knew a couple of those words, but most were new to me. Gainsay sounds so old fashioned - I'm sure I'd get some looks if I tried to use that one.

  3. Some great words there Amy. I already know, love and use bulbous and hirsute- how fantastic to find them used together! Really paints a picture. Transhumance is a very interesting word I haven't come up against before, not one I'd need to use all that often in my day to day life.

  4. Glad you liked the word 'transhumance', Amy. What attracted me wasn't so much the word, as the romance of the transhumance itself - that ancient movement at the pull of the seasons, from the safety and comfort of the valley to the wildness of the high pastures. For me, it mirrored my character's own journey, from what was safe and known to the adventure of her new mountain life.

    I actually wanted to call the novel 'The Transhumance' - but you can imagine what my editor had to say about that - hardly a snappy title for a work of commercial fiction!

  5. I really, really like transhumance. It's odd how some words attract us like a magnet. I enjoyed learning the other words too.

  6. By the way I luv your blog and its title.

  7. I love transhumance because it's featured in the novel I'm currently reading -- although the word isn't used.

  8. If I am ever described as either bulbous or hirsute, I will take to my bed and weep.

  9. I like transhumance. I've never seen or heard it used. It's not easy to spell either.

  10. I like too "Transhumance". We use it usually in France with this meaning!.
    I live, part time for the moment- in a coutry-South east of France- where the transhumance will begin in a few weeks. Sheeps come from south in lorries and after... they walked to the top of the mountains. We see them from june to october when we hike. I like it but not seing the dogs "Chiens patous", with them. There are white and big and there to protect the herds from wolves.

  11. I had never heard propitiation -- sounds like one we could all use more often!

  12. I like hirsute. Good words all around. If you get a chance, my words are here.