Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Words of the Day

Ready for more Dictionary Fun? I was going to continue through my original list from top to bottom, but I came across two new words just this week, and I was eager to get to them first, with the added benefit that I actually remember where I heard them and can even share with you the sentence where I found them.

1. Gallimaufry. From my most recent read, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. "Every family had a few skeletons in their cupboards, but the Vanger family had an entire gallimaufry of them." So I'm guessing it's a pretty big place to store skeletons. I mean, I have no clue. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it's a French tomb at the top of a tower. (I really do have reasons behind this: Galli- as in Gallic, -mau- as in mausoleum, and -fry as in belfry . . . hey, I tried!!) Webster says: Hodgepodge (which, in turn, is defined as a mixture or jumble). Yup, I couldn't have been more wrong. Zero points. Boo hiss! But there's an option for a bonus half-point if I'm pronouncing the word correctly (accent on the "mau" syllable). Let's check in with Webster again: Oooh, yes! 0.5 for me.

2. Exiguous. Another from Dragon Tattoo. "She had a rudimentary knowledge of the law--it was a subject she had never had occasion to explore--and her faith in the police was generally exiguous." Lacking? Theoretical? Along the lines of thinking "it works for other people but not for me"? Webster says: Excessively scanty; inadequate. So, "lacking" works, right? I'm claiming the point.

3. Anabaptist. I totally remember learning this word in a religion class in college, but that was, like, a long time ago. Funny that I don't remember the definition, but I do remember that my roommate knew the definition. Or maybe I'm thinking about the word "gnostic" . . . OK, I guess I have 2 words to look up now. And honestly I don't even have a guess on either one. Webster says: An Anabaptist is a Protestant sectarian of a radical movement arising in the 16th century and advocating the baptism and church membership of adult believers only, nonresistance, and the separation of church and state. A Gnostic belongs to a cult of late pre-Christian and early Christian centuries distinguished by the conviction that matter is evil and that emancipation comes through gnosis. Ugh, will this never end? What is gnosis? Esoteric (private or confidential information limited to a small group) knowledge of spiritual truth which is essential to salvation. MY GOSH that was convoluted but boring. I get a point just for looking all that up. And YOU get a point just for reading it. Maybe #4 will be more fun.

4. Glutinous. Is this like gelatinous, only wheat-based? (Nah, "gluten" ends in -en, not -in.) Webster says: Having the quality of glue; gummy. So if something is glutinous it is like glue, and a gelatinous substance is like jelly. I get 3/4 of a point, since "gelatin" is defined as "a glutinous material." They're definitely related.

5. Gorgeous. I've always thought gorgeous meant super-pretty, but that definition must not have matched the context wherever I found it. I sure wish I remembered where this one came from, because it's a little disappointing to wonder but not know why I was unsure of the definition. Webster says: Splendidly or showily brilliant or magnificent. I say I get a point for this one too, don't you?

So now I have to do some math. Looks like 4.25 out of 5, but I'm subtracting a point since this wasn't near as fun as last week. Well, the first two words were fun, but the other three, not so much. You can have the point that I deleted from my score as a reward, if you actually read this far.

Now here is my Dictionary Day disclaimer. Not that I thought I was the first person to have ever looked up the definitions of words I don't know, but the day after I posted my first Words of the Day last week, I found there is already a well-established blogger meme called "Wondrous Words" that basically does just the same thing that I'm doing here. I guess I just want to say I'm not trying to be an idea thief, thunder-stealer or copy-cat with my definitions posts. 'Sokay, though. Dictionary Fun can be for everyone.


PeachyTO said...

You got me on all of them. I only know gorgeous as its usual meaning, and on first glance I thought glutinous was gluttonous. Haha, I've been known to have an issue or two with spelling...

Whitney said...

Your guesses were as good as mine! I just read your interview on Page Turners, great answers Kathy!

Jessica said...

haha what a good feature. This is another reason why I want a kindle as most of the time I ust guess what the word mean depending on the context, funny how even doing that you can be way off.

Cozy Book Nook (Lesa) said...

I like this feature-- I love finding out the entymology and meanings of words. My co-blogger posts Dinner Dictionary occasionally-- words are fun.

Funny, you putting the disclaimer-- After I read your earlier Words of the Day post, I also ran across Wondrous Words and even a another version of a dictionary post on a different blog--- but I can't remember where. Bookworms just love words-- with so many people into the same thing there is bound to be overlap and similarites. Don't worry about it.

Amanda said...

I am glad to see I wasn't the only one who didn't know those words in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I often do look up definitions for words in books that I am not sure the meaning, if only for personal satisfaction, since most probably won't make it into my common speech. That is the tricky part about listening to audio books, tough to look up what you can't see in type!!
Keep them coming!!