Wednesday, September 28, 2011

~ ~ Wondrous Words Wednesday ~ ~

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bermudaonion's Weblog where we share 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.


All of my words, today, are from Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh


" Such was the subedar's presence that the groom and his immediate family seemed pleasingly diffident in comparison, and this played no small part in earning Deeti's consent for the match. "


1. Subedar
: (historical term, formerly) the chief native officer of a company of Indian soldiers in the British service. Also called subah




" Although Mrs. Burnham's clothes were severe in cut, they were made of much finer stuffs than any that Paulette had ever worn before: not for her common Chinsurah calicoes, nor even the fine shabnam muslins and zaituni satins that many memsahibs made do with; the Burra BeeBee** of Bethel would have nothing less than the finest kerseymere, the best silks from China, crisp linens from Ireland and soft Surat nainsooks. "


2. Chinsurah
:formally Hugli-Chuchura, a city in the state of West Bengal, India that lies on the Hooghly River


3. Shabnam
: a Urdu word meaning dew drops


4. Zaituni
: the Arab name for a city in China whose whereabouts are no longer known; meaning "coming from Zaitun" and related to the Chinese word sze-tun or ssu-tuan, a smooth silk.


5. Memsahib
: (formerly, in India) a term of respect for a married European woman.


6. Kerseymere
: a heavily fulled woolen cloth constructed in twill weave and finished with a fine nap.


7. Surat
: a seaport in S Gujarat, in W India: first British settlement in India 1612


8. Nainsook
: a fine, soft-finished cotton fabric, usually white, used for lingerie and infants' wear




“I asked you here tonight because I wish to know whether your promise was a mere bagatelle, lightly uttered, or whether you are indeed a man who honors his parole.”


9. Bagatelle
: something of little value or importance; a trifle.

** in case you haven't read Sea of Poppies, Burra BeeBee is a another name for Mrs Burnham

8 comments:

  1. Loved the words for this week -- very exotic!

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  2. I have Sea of Poppies but I've heard so much about the daunting vocab and accents used that I've been afraid to dive into it!

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  3. The only one of these words I knew was memsahib. Lots of great words here today, thanks for sharing them!

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  4. I think that must be the world record for number of new words from one sentence! I've heard both memsahib and bagatelle before, but don't think I could have defined them

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  5. "memsahib" and "bagatelle" were the only two that looked familiar. I did know 'memsahib', but thought "bagatelle" was a type of bead or ornament.

    Maybe I should stay away from this book, I'd have to go to the dictionary with every page!

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  6. I like to read India related books. But often they are difficult to read because of the numerous "wondrous words" !I knew a few of them because they are the same in "French" : Cachemire, bagatelle, mensahib. Thanks for all these discovers !

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  7. Other than bagatelle and memsahib, the rest I've never heard of. Sounds like an interesting book.

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  8. Your clothes would look nice on my bedroom floor. Hey, i am looking for an online sexual partner ;) Click on my boobs if you are interested (. )( .)

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