Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.
I’ve recently read A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor, a book that I’ll be writing about in more detail. It’s his account of his journey in 1933/4 walking to Constantinople. He uses many words that either were completely new to me or words that I wasn’t quite sure what they mean. As I was reading it on Kindle I was able to look up their meaning without too much distraction. Most of the words I didn’t know are described as ‘archaic’ and some of the words aren’t in the Kindle dictionary.
Here are just two:
- imberb – ‘The figure of St John the Divine – imberb, quizzically smiling, quill in hand and at ease in a dressing-gown with his hair flowing loose like an undress-wig …’
This isn’t in the Kindle dictionary and my guess was that it meant he had a beard. I was nearly right, but also completely wrong – the online Oxford English Dictionary has this definition: adjective from the French imberbe, Latin imberbis – a rare word meaning beardless.
- flocculent – ‘Ragged and flocculent, fading to grey, scattered with specks of pink from the declining sun, varying in width as random fragments were dropping away and recohering and agitated with motion as though its whole length were a single thread, a thick white line of crowding storks stretched from one side of the heavens to the other.’