Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words is hosted by Bermudaonion, see others here.

Today's words all come from A House for Mr. Biswas, by V. S. Naipaul, a book which is testing the boundaries of my vocabulary. Some of these I understood through context, but still went and looked them up. Can't hurt, right?

pleasance (noun) a pleasant rest or recreation place usually attached to a mansion.
The buffaloes pleasance was a muddy, cloyingly sweet pool not far from the factory... (pg 22)
passespartout (noun) (1) a method of framing in which a picture, a mat, a glass, and a back (as of cardboard) are held together by strips of paper or cloth pasted over the edges (2) a strong paper gummed on one side and used especially for mounting pictures.
Mr. Biswas never owned a copy of the photograph and he did not see it until 1937, when it made its appearance, framed in passespartout, on the wall of the drawing room of Tara's fine new house... (pg 33)
ferrule (noun) a ring or cap usually of metal put around a slender shaft (as a coin or a tool handle) to strengthen it or prevent slipping.
...they examined Raghu's walking-sticks, taking out the ferrules, Raghu's only extravagance... (pg 35)
foolscap (noun) a size of paper formerly standard in Great Britain, broadly, a piece of writing paper.
He took out a sheet of foolscap, tore it in half... (pg 42)
disputation (noun) an academic exercise in oral defense of a thesis by formal logic.
...he took [the coins] to Pundit Jairam, who might then be engaged in some philosophical disputation. (pg 50)
querulous (adjective) fretful, whining
Bhandat's voice, even when low, was a whine with a querulous edge. (pg 58)
prognathous (adjective) being or having the lower jaw projecting beyond the upper part of the face.
The news of the girl at Arawacas spread and Mr. Biswas enjoyed some glory at Pagotes until Bhandat's younger son, a prognathous, contemptuous boy, said "I feel you lying like hell, you know." (pg 79)

7 comments:

Margot said...

I only knew foolscap and querulous. Hope that doesn't say something personal about me. lol

bermudaonion said...

Even after reading the definition of passespartout, I can't picture it in my mind. I'm going to look that one up to see if I can find some examples. Great words!

gautami tripathy said...

These are good finds but I hated the book! Can't stand Naipal!

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Phyl said...

Wow, these are great! A mixed bag, where my own knowledge was concerned. I'd certainly never heard of "prognathous." And I've seen "pleasance" a lot (I must read a certain kind of book), but darned if I'd ever have been able to define it.

Thanks for the education! :-)

Meanwhile, mine are here.

avisannschild said...

Isn't it passepartout (without the s before the second p)? I was familiar with its other definition (passkey), but not this one. Great words!

Beth F said...

I love Niapaul! Just needed to throw that in. Can't wait to read your review.

Toni said...

I love Wonderous Words. Thanks for posting.