I fully intended to look up the definition of these words, and then reread how each was used in context, but I didn't do a very good job in keeping track of which book I found them in. Oops. For about half of the words I didn't even list a page number; a bunch more have a page number without a notation about a title (how does that help??); then there are a few for which I marked down title initials but I still have no idea what book it might be! For instance, what book uses the word "fuliginous" and could be denoted by the initials HJ? Or where would I find the word "alacrity" in a book with the initials FM?
Anyway, since I am obviously never going to take the time to look up all the definitions in one sitting, I have decided to look them up in groups of five with a nice break in between. I call this "Words of the Day" mainly in homage to Joey Tribbiani's toilet paper, but I don't plan to do this daily. I guess I just hope to do it often enough that I finally come to the end of my list someday.
So, here are today's five entries:
1. Sere. On my list, this word is followed by "fields" in parentheses. I assume this is because, in the book I was reading, "sere" was an adjective used to describe "fields." My guess: Sere means dry. Webster says: Being dried and withered. Score!
2. Sine qua non. I assume this is a latin term. I bet my nephew David could tell me the definition, being one of the only people to have taken Latin classes in this century. (For all I know, he *is* the only one). He could also probably tell me how to pronounce it, because I have no clue. For my purposes, I'm calling it "see-nay kwa non." On my list, this phrase is followed by "necessary?" in parentheses. I am guessing that was my guess for the definition. Webster says: An absolutely indispensible or essential thing. Actual translation is "without which not." It is used as a noun. Anyway, that's two points for me!
3. Nacre-colored. On my list, this term is followed by "pearl material?" so I am guessing that was my guess as to the definition. Webster says: "nacre" is mother-of-pearl. Hey, I'm doing pretty well! This is fun!
4. Doge's barge. I'm almost sure this was from Dorian Gray. No qualifiers on my list. I have a vague idea that this refers to Venetian gondolas, and I used to think it was something dark and solemn and perhaps even funereal, but in one of the two books I recently read about Venice, I seem to recall learning that a Doge is some sort of government official. Webster says: a "doge" is the chief magistrate in the republics of Venice and Genoa. I don't feel like I can give myself full points for this one, because (though I know what a Doge is and I know what a barge is) I still don't get what the phrase "Doge's barge" connotes. I mean, is it just fancy?
5. Pygmy. I'm pretty sure this word came from Conan Doyle's aforementioned book. I always thought "pygmy" referred to a small version of something. In order for this to have made my list, my definition must not have fit the context. Webster says: Any of a race of dwarfs described by ancient Greek authors. Any of a small people of equatorial Africa ranging under five feet in height. A short, insignificant (really, Webster? that's a little rude!) person; Dwarf. I'm sure this word can apply to little rabbits, and, um, hippos too? So I say I get full points for this one.
Look at that! 4.5 out of 5. I win!