Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday!



Greetings from the West Coast! Only a few more days in beautiful Montebello, California, then home for 3 days and off to a week of meetings in St. Paul, Minnesota. Luckily, I have managed to squeeze in a little time for some new words.

Words this week come from Population: 485 by Michael Perry. It's a really interesting book about life in a small town, written by a volunteer firefighter and EMT who works with - and sometimes on - his neighbors. The book covers everything from firefighting to farming to philosophy, with lots of stops along the way. Here are some of the interesting words I came across:

1. "...the corner has been recut and reshaped, the roadbed raised and the camber adjusted."

Camber: 1: a slight convexity (as of the surface of a road) 2: a slope in the turn of a road or track.

2. "The effect was riverine."

Riverine: relating to or resembling a river.

3. "Your top-grade aphorist covers all angles."

Aphorist: Okay, this is one of those words that you need a definition of the definition. An aphorist is someone who produces or collects aphorisms. Aphorisms are original thoughts, spoken or written in an easily memorable form.

And this quote is a fiver-fer!

4-8: "In its wake, we were left a raw, poetic topographhy of kettles and moraines, kames and eskers, and drumlins.

Kettle: Depression made by the wasting away of a detached piece of glacier ice.

Moraine: An accumulation of boulders, stones, or other debris carried and deposited by a glacier.

Kame: A round hill or short ridge of sand or gravel deposited by a melting glacier.

Esker: A long winding ridge of post glacial gravel and other sediment.

Drumlin: A smooth hill formed from deposits of glacial till.

I've got a lot more words from this book and I plan on using them next week. Until then, here's something to think about, if you've been playing this game every Wednesday: isn't it surprising how some definitions are so very clear, and others are worse than useless? Especially looking up the topographic terms, I was surprised by the way some definitions gave me a clear picture of the effect, while others were so vague or dolled-up in other technical terms, that I had no idea what they meant. No wonder people get frustrated!

8 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

It was pleasure to read you post. I learnt so many new words!

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Mercy's Maid said...

Good words. I guessed at the definition of riverine and some of the others seemed familiar, but I wouldn't have been able to define them.

I agree with your thoughts about fancy definitions...it's almost like some of them don't WANT you to know what a word means. :)

avisannschild said...

Great words! I only knew riverine and moraine, although I didn't remember what the latter meant!

I agree with you, sometimes definitions are completely useless. The worst ones are those like for aphorist, where they use some other form of the same word in the definition, which doesn't help at all!

carolsnotebook said...

Good words, but I'll probably have forgotten them all by tomorrow.

Margot said...

I liked you five-er sentence. Did you read this book with the dictionary close?

I agree with your thoughts on definitions. Also -sometimes it feels as if authors are sitting there with their Thesaurus open, trying to add new words.

Lisa said...

I will Google a word I don't know (a search like "define: kames" will give me a list of definitions) and it is always surprising how some will be perfectly clear and some are a fog bank.

Margot, I didn't keep the dictionary close, I kept my post-it flags handy so I could share all the words with you guys!

Kelly @ The Novel Bookworm said...

I love the geological words!

bermudaonion said...

I agree with you on the definitions. Sometimes I have to look up words in the definition to try to figure out what it means. When I get into it a few words deep, I forget what I was looking for initially. Thanks for participating!