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ExUrbanis

Urban Leaving to Country Living

WONDROUS WORDS: Howard’s Hobby

November23

In Melissa Harrison’s lovely At Hawthorn Time, I also met Howard, retired from his city job and keeping from going bonkers in the country with his hobby of restoring vintage wireless units.

First, a sound I know you’ve heard, but perhaps didn’t know the word for.

Heterodyne hɛt(ə)rə(ʊ)DINE/: Electronics of or relating to the production of a lower frequency from the combination of two almost equal high frequencies, as used in radio transmission.

Slowly he began to scan through the frequencies, adjusting the dial minutely, listening, waiting, listening again. Pops and crackles, garbled speech, snatches of music, and between it all the otherworldly heterodyne wails.

 

ceiling boss architecture photo boss 1_zps3bvut443.jpgBoss: a knob or protrusion of stone or wood. Bosses can often be found in the ceilings of buildings, particularly at the keystones at the intersections of a rib vault. In Gothic architecture, such roof bosses (or ceiling bosses) are often intricately carved with foliage, heraldic devices or other decorations.

The church was cool and empty, its roof timbers with their curved bosses lost in shadow, the air it held within it very still.


I’ve seen ceiling bosses scores of times, and never thought about the name for them.
How about you?

 
Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.

 

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

WONDROUS WORDS: Jack’s Navigation

November16

In Melissa Harrison’s lovely At Hawthorn Time, I met Jack, an itinerant farm worker who navigates his way across the England by a combination of memory and instinct. Here are a couple of words that give some insight into his methods.

 photo worker_zpsl8nmogip.jpg
 

Telluric: (təˈLOORik) of the earth as a planet, of the soil; a telluric current, or Earth current, is an electric current which moves underground

Usually he navigated by a kind of telluric instinct, an obscure knowledge he had learned to call on even when the land he walked through was unfamiliar(.)

 


Perturbation:
(pərdərˈbāSH(ə)n) 1. anxiety; mental uneasiness. 2. a deviation of a system, moving object, or process from its regular or normal state of path, caused by an outside influence.

The last two times he’d slept he’d felt the perturbation of a large town not too far ahead running like static through his dreams.

I couldn’t decide if that used the first or the second definition of perturbation. What do you think?

 
Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.

 

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

WONDROUS WORDS: Gavage

October19

I ran across this “foodie” word in The Crowded Grave, the fourth in the Bruno, Chief of Police series.

“If’s there any cruelty, blame Mother Nature. Ducks and geese always stuff themselves to fill their livers before they fly off on winter migration. That’s how they store their energy . . .

From the look on Teddy’s face, it didn’t appear to Bruno that he knew that gavage, the force-feeding of the birds, was also a natural process.”

geese photo geese_zpsbm6yrxkj.jpg

gavage: the administration of food or drugs by force, especially to an animal, typically through a tube leading down the throat to the stomach.

Gavage
is a French word pronounced ɡəˈväZH and hardly needed that definition after the book excerpt. The Internet images for gavage are not pretty, so I chose the picture of these charming geese instead.

Do you have any other “foodie words” to share?
 
Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.
 

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

Wondrous Words & WHAT ARE THE CHANCES? Middens

September22

question mark photo question-mark_zpslnbg5ouw.jpg

When I think of the history I learned in school—Marco Polo and then the exploration of Canada in grade school, the Magna Carta et al in Grade 9, and a local history course in tenth grade—I do not recall ever hearing the word midden.

A MIDDEN is a community garbage heap—perhaps today we’d say “town dump” (in North America at any rate). They are a rich source of information and relics for archaeologists. And it is the unusual-to-me word that came at me in consecutive reads this month.

 

In Martin Walker’s Bruno Chief of Police #4 The Crowded Grave (pg. 19) I read:the crowded grave by martin walker photo crowded grave 75_zpsvfvrxrqs.jpg

“Teddy had an interesting idea he wanted to pursue”, said Horst. “He was looking for the midden, the latrine, the place where people threw their rubbish, and he assumed it would be away from the water supply.”

Of course, in so doing, Teddy discovered a more recent body than should have been at that archeological dig site.

 

the last kashmiri rose by barbara cleverly photo last kashmiri rose 75_zpspxdmaz4k.jpgNext book up was The Last Kashmiri Rose that, despite its title, is not romance but a solid detective/police procedural set in 1922 British India, and is the first in Barbara Cleverly’s Joe Sandilands series.

I had barely begun to read when on page 12, I saw:

Though no stranger to the midden that was the East End of London- he’d not, by a long way, been able to accept the poverty that surrounded him [in Calcutta].

 

So, what are the chances of these bizarre reading coincidences? Pretty good it seems.

 

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A day late and a dollor short, I’m linking to Wondrous Words Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion.

 

 

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

WONDROUS WORDS – Smokers of the Past

July27

This week’s words come from two stories in the anthology A Body in the Library edited by Rex Collings, published 1991.

The first is from the story By the Sword by Selwyn Jepson, first published in 1938

“Alfred shifted restlessly in his armchair and banged the dottle out of his pipe against the hearth.”

dottle photo dottle_zpsw9rauag6.jpgdottle: the plug of tobacco residue or ashes left in the bottom of a pipe after it is smoked.

The origins of dottle are straight-forward: late Middle English, dot: denoting a plug for a barrel or other container.

* * * * *

The second word is from the story Superfluous Murder by Milward Kennedy, originally published in 1935, in the same anthology.

vestas photo vesta_zpsjg1ce5j0.jpg “He filled his pipe and struck one of the wax vestas.”

A vesta is a short wooden match. Its derivation is also straight-forward. It is Latin and derived from the name of the Roman goddess of the hearth, Vesta.

 

These stories were both written in the 1930s. I suppose that we’re not so familiar with these words today as pipe smoking is relatively rare now. Had you ever heard these words before?

 

Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.


P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

WONDROUS WORDS – Quire & Ream

July13

This week’s words come from the the story Lord Chizelrigg’s Missing Fortune by Robert Barr, published in 1906. It’s in the anthology A Body in the Library edited by Rex Collings, published 1991.

“I take it a thousand sheets were supplied, although of course it may have been a thousand quires, which would be a little more reasonable for the price charged, or a thousand reams, which would be exceedingly cheap.”

As book-lovers you are no doubt familair with these words, as I am. But I must admit that, if pressed, I couldn’t have defined them accurately. And I love the etymology of these words.

quire photo quire_zpsl3hlkpb4.jpgQuire: a set of 24 or 25 sheets of paper of the same size and stock, the twentieth part of a ream.

The word quire originated from Old French: quaer, a book of loose pages, which can be traced to the Vulgar Latin quaternum, paper packed in lots of four pages.

Ream: a quantity of paper varying from 480 sheets (20 quires) to 516 sheets.

Ream can be traced to the Arabic: rizma: a bale or packet.


Do you have any other “book words” to share?

 

Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

WONDROUS WORD: Sporran

May25

This week’s word is one that most people are familiar with, but rarely use. In Carol Shields’ Swann: a Literary Mystery, one of the main characters meets a Scotsman in a kilt and can’t remember the word for the little purse attached to his outfit, until it comes to him in the night a few weeks later. Rationalizing, he says:

Of course, it’s not a particularly common word. One could go years and years without hearing it. But still he should not have forgotten.

The sporran (/ˈspɒrən/; Scottish Gaelic for “purse”), a traditional part of male Scottish Highland dress, is a pouch that performs the same function as pockets on the pocketless kilt.

Sporran photo sporran_zpsigcrv4j4.jpg

Made of leather or fur, the ornamentation of the sporran is chosen to complement the formality of dress worn with it. The sporran is worn on a leather strap or chain, conventionally positioned in front of the groin of the wearer.

When was the last time you used the word sporran?

Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

WONDROUS WORDS: Seisún & Bodhran

May17

This week’s word comes from the first in the Rare Book Murder series, The Dirty Book Murder. The protagonist is visiting his favourite Irish pub:

An informal seisún began in a corner with a fiddler, a bodhran player, and a girl with a pennywhistle. They played “The Bold Fenian Men” and followed that with “Black and Tan” to put the crowd in a fine rebel mood.
 

seisún: a mostly informal gathering at which people play Irish traditional music. From the Irish sheisiún: session; from Old French session, from Latin sessiō ‎(“a sitting”), from sedeō ‎(“sit”).

bodhran photo bodhran2_zpshicz86ek.jpg

bodhran /ˈbôˌrän,-rən/: a shallow one-sided Irish drum typically played with a short two-headed drumstick. Origin: Irish bodhrán. The first known use is 1972.

 

Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

WONDROUS WORDS: Incunabula

May11

This week’s word comes from the first in the Rare Book Murder series, The Dirty Book Murder. And it’s a lovely “book word”.

“There were thirty more books in the two boxes, all related to travel, adventure, or sporting activities such as hunting and fishing. I didn’t expect to find any incunabula, but these beautifully bound editions covered a period from the mid-eighteenth century to the early nineteenth that was in a price zone I could afford.”
 

 photo incubalia_zpsyyhqbebx.jpg

incunabula: books produced before 1501, in the earliest stages of printing from movable type.

Incunabula
(pronounced in-kyoo-nab-yuh-la) is plural; the singular, of course, is incunabulum. The word originated about 1815-25 and is derived from the Latin: straps holding a baby in a cradle, probably equivalent to *incūnā (re) to place in a cradle + -bula, plural of -bulum

Do you have any other “book words” to share?
 
Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

WONDROUS WORD: Cevapcici

April27

This week’s word comes from Death of a River Guide by Richard Flanagan, the author of Booker Prize winning The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Death of a River Guide is set in Tasmania and is told by Aljaz, said guide, who has a vision of his father:

(T)here it is, smoking and spluttering, Harry’s celebrated barbeque, spitting and flaring, the griddle full of roo patties on one side and cevapcici on the other(.)

cevapcici photo cevapcici_zpshexytdjt.jpg Ćevapi is a grilled dish of minced meat, a type of skinless sausage, found traditionally in the countries of southeastern Europe (the Balkans), originating during the Ottoman Period. According to Wikipedia, they are considered a national dish in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and are also common in Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia, as well as in Albania, Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania. They are usually served 5–10 pieces on a plate or in a flatbread with chopped raw onions.

From Persian kebab, sometimes with the South Slavic diminutive ending -čići.

Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

Wondrous Words: Colours!

April20

I ran across this week’s words while reading the latest installment in Julie Mulhern’s Country Club Murders, Clouds in My Coffee. The protagonist, Ellison Russell, is an artist living in 1974 Kansas City, Missouri.

The world around us faded like a watercolor painting left in the rain. The soot, the brilliant leaves–burnt umber, orange-red, gamboge, and the Tyrian purple of the now-trampled pansies in my hosta beds dimmed.
gamboge photo gamboge_zps9zakbkbu.jpggamboge: a gum resin from various Asian trees of the genus Garcinia, used as a yellow pigment; yellow or yellow-orange.

From New Latin gambog-, variant of cambog-, after Cambodia

Tyrian purple photo tyrian_zpsteot2gzt.jpgTyrian purple: a crimson or purple dye obtained by the ancient Phoenicians from gastropod mollusks (sea snails); also known as Tyrian red, royal purple, imperial purple.

Phoenicia, which roughly corresponded to modern-day Lebanon, was noted for its Tyrian purple dye, named after the city of Tyre, a maritime city of ancient Phoenicia. Tyrian purple was the most precious dye of its time, in large part because of the labor required to produce it.

Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

Wondrous Words from Architecture

May22

I discovered both of these words (which I have may have encountered before but have forgotten through disuse) in The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton by Elizabeth Speller.

The protagonist, Laurence Bertram, is a scholar of church history, including their architecture.

ammonite photo ammonite_zps2090d1d5.jpgAmmonite: (from the horn of Ammon – Jupiter – whose statues were represented with ram’s horns): Any of the flat, usually coiled fossil shells of an extinct order of mollusks.

pg 22 She indicated an ornate bench. Two stone ammonites supported the stone seat (. . .)



pantiles photo pantiles_zps13af1a73.jpgPantile:
A roofing tile having an S curve, laid with the large curve of one tile overlapping the small curve of the next

Pg135 A handful of nearer [houses], more finished than the rest, had leaded windows and hanging pantiles
.

Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion.


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A Wondrous Word: Bodkin

April3

I ran across this week’s word while reading Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym.

bodkins photo bodkin_zpse7146aad.jpgJane recalls that a talented member of her husband’s last parish had actually had a household hint published in a homemaking magazine: ‘It was a use for a thermometer case, if you had the misfortune to break your thermometer, of course. A splendid case for keeping bodkins in!’ Jane chortled.

bodkin:
a blunt needle with a large eye for drawing tape or ribbon through a loop or hem
From Middle English boydekin (“dagger”), apparently from *boyde, *boide (of unknown origin) +‎ -kin

Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion.


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A Wondrous Word: Putto

March20

I ran across this week’s word while reading Stealing with Style, a cozy mystery story in which the lead character is an antiques appraiser
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Putto: a figure of a plump, young male angel or cupid, as in baroque art (from var. of pusus, boy; akin to puer)

“The body [of the soup tureen] was gracefully shaped, and on the lid a playful putto sat astride a cornucopia overflowing with exquisitely painted, hand-modeled flowers.”

(pg 201) Stealing with Style by Emyl Jenkins

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion.


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A Wondrous Word: Appanage

March13

I just finished reading The Warden by Anthony Trollope so I have a font of new words, especially relating to the church and its clergy. Some of them are just obscure, other now obsolete (the book was first published in 1855). But here’s one that’s still in the dictionary:
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Appanage: an accompanying endowment

The patronage was a valuable appanage of the bishopric; and surely it would not be his duty to lessen the value of that preferment which had been bestowed on himself (.)
(pg 28) The Warden by Anthony Trollope

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion.


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A Wondrous Word: Analemma

March7

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I haven’t participated before in Bermuda Onion’s Wondrous Words Wednesday weekly meme , but I just had to share this one. To see what other Wondrous Words bloggers have found this week, visit Kathy’s blog (link above).

Analemma: a curve in the form of an elongated 8 marked with a scale, drawn on a globe of the earth to show the sun’s declination and the equation of time for any day of the year: formed by plotting the sun’s actual daily position at noon for a year.

From Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye Pg 101
It was beautiful, a tarnished nickel-silver pocket watch with an analemma on its face.


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