Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Interesting Words: The Alchemist's Pursuit

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One of the things I often do as I'm reading a novel or short story is keep track of words whose definitions I do not know or that I find interesting. Either way, these interesting words are ones I feel might be of use in my own writing. That, and it's good to expand one's vocabulary every once in a while.

Read my review of The Alchemist's Pursuit.

altruistic: showing unselfish concern for the welfare of others

aquiline: curved down like an eagle's beak

ascetic: practices self denial as spiritual discipline

avaricious: immoderately desirous of acquiring e.g. wealth

condottiere: A military adventurer of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, who sold his services, and those of his followers, to any party in any contest.

connivance: tacit approval of someone's wrongdoing

damask: a fabric of linen or cotton or silk or wool with a reversible pattern woven into it

demimonde: a class of woman not considered respectable because of indiscreet or promiscuous behavior

dyspepsia: a disorder of digestive function characterized by discomfort or heartburn or nausea

ephemeris: an annual publication containing astronomical tables that give the positions of the celestial bodies throughout the year

escritoire: a desk used for writing

fatuity: a ludicrous folly

gematria: a cabbalistic system of interpretation of the Scriptures by substituting for a particular word another word whose letters give the same numerical sum

harridan: a scolding (even vicious) old woman

hematemesis: vomiting blood

insouciant: marked by blithe unconcern

isopsephy: the Greek word for the practice of adding up the number values of the letters in a word to form a single number

licentious: lacking moral discipline; especially sexually unrestrained

malmsey: sweet Madeira wine

miniver: trimming on ceremonial robes consisting of white or light gray fur

miter: a liturgical headdress worn by bishops on formal occasions

niggardly: petty in giving or spending

patriciate: The patrician class; the aristocracy; also, the office of patriarch.

perfidy: betrayal of a trust

plinth: an architectural support or base (as for a column or statue)

sausage stands: I know what a sausage stand is, but thought it interesting that Renaissance Venice had them (or at least Duncan's rendition did).

scuttle: container for coal; shaped to permit pouring the coal onto the fire

sortilege: The act or practice of drawing lots; divination by drawing lots.

succinct: briefly giving the gist of something

tonsure: the shaved crown of a monk's or priest's head

Interesting Words: Blood Engines

View Blood Engines on Amazon.com One of the things I often do as I'm reading a novel or short story is keep track of words whose definitions I do not know or that I find interesting. Either way, these interesting words are ones I feel might be of use in my own writing. That, and it's good to expand one's vocabulary every once in a while.

Read my review of Blood Engines.

consigliere: An adviser or counselor, especially to a capo or leader of an organized crime syndicate.

self-aggrandizement: an act undertaken to increase your own power and influence or to draw attention to your own importance

sarong: a loose skirt consisting of brightly colored fabric wrapped around the body; worn by both women and men in the South Pacific

diurnal: having a daily cycle or occurring every day; belonging to or active during the day

pagoda: a tall religious building in Asia with many levels, each of which has a curved roof 

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Interesting Words: The Outstretched Shadow

View this book on Amazon.comOne of the things I often do as I'm reading a novel or short story is keep track of words whose definitions I do not know or that I find interesting. Either way, these interesting words are ones I feel might be of use in my own writing. That, and it's good to expand one's vocabulary every once in a while.

Read my review of The Outstretched Shadow.

Even though I didn't complete The Outstretched Shadow, I still found a few interesting words.

vulpine: resembling or characteristic of a fox

convocation: a group gathered in response to a summons

vintner: someone who makes or sells wine

sennight: the space of seven nights and days; a week

finial: a relatively small, ornamental, terminal feature at the top of a gable, pinnacle, etc.; an ornamental termination to the top of a piece of furniture, or of one part of such a piece

ostentatious: intended to attract notice and impress others

plinth: a square block, especially of stone, on which a column or a statue stands

perfidious: tending to betray; especially having a treacherous character as attributed to the Carthaginians by the Romans

piquant: engagingly stimulating or provocative; having an agreeably pungent taste

slatternly: slovenly, untidy

epistle: a formal or elegant letter

tureen: large deep serving dish with a cover; for serving soups and stews

roached: hair combed up from the forehead or temples in a roll or high curve

double-milled: twice milled or fulled, as cloth, to make it finer

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Interesting Words: The Alchemist's Code

One of the things I often do as I'm reading a novel or short story is keep track of words whose definitions I do not know or that I find interesting. Either way, these interesting words are ones I feel might be of use in my own writing. That, and it's good to expand one's vocabulary every once in a while.

Read my review of The Alchemist's Code.

I was able to make note of quite a few while reading Dave Duncan's The Alchemist's Code simply because Duncan was pushing my vocabulary knowledge at almost every page. Kindle's annotation feature made this process very easy; no more pen and paper notes. I especially like that I can sync all of my annotations to the Kindle for PC app I have running on my laptop. That way I've got the information right there on my screen as I'm, say, writing this post.

Here are the words with definitions that I found interesting.

alembic: an obsolete kind of container used for distillation; two retorts connected by a tube

appurtenances:  equipment consisting of miscellaneous articles needed for a particular operation

atelier: a studio especially for an artist or designer

bombast: pompous or pretentious talk or writing

brocade (gown): thick heavy expensive material with a raised pattern

calcining: heat a substance so that it oxidizes or reduces

casements: a window sash opening on hinges that are generally attached to the upright side of its frame; windows at either side of a larger window that open via a lever

dilettantes: an amateur who engages in an activity without serious intentions and who pretends to have knowledge

equerry: an official charged with the care of the horses of princes or nobles

ermine (cape): the expensive white fur of the ermine

escutcheon: a shield; especially one displaying a coat of arms; a flat protective covering (on a door or wall etc) to prevent soiling by dirty fingers

fusty: stale and unclean smelling

infrangible: difficult or impossible to break or separate into parts

iniquitous:  characterized by iniquity; wicked because it is believed to be a sin

kahve: coffee

lighter: a flatbottom boat for carrying heavy loads (especially on canals)

loggia: a roofed arcade or gallery with open sides stretching along the front or side of a building; often at an upper level

mendacity: the tendency to be untruthful

mezzanine:  intermediate floor just above the ground floor; floor above the ground floor but below subsequent ones

moue: a disdainful pouting grimace

mountebank: a flamboyant deceiver; one who attracts customers with tricks or jokes

nostrum: hypothetical remedy for all ills or diseases; once sought by the alchemists

octogenarian: someone whose age is in the eighties

phlogiston: a hypothetical substance once believed to be present in all combustible materials and to be released during burning

portmanteau: a large travelling bag made of stiff leather

preceptor: teacher at a university of college

puce: a color varying from dark purplish brown to dark red

retort: a vessel where substances are distilled or decomposed by heat

rostrum: a platform raised above the surrounding level to give prominence to the person on it

rubicund:  inclined to a healthy reddish color often associated with outdoor life

sanctimonious: excessively or hypocritically pious

scrivener: someone employed to make written copies of documents and manuscripts

scuttle:

noun: an entrance equipped with a hatch; especially a passageway between decks of a ship
verb: to move about or proceed hurriedly

strappado: torture in which a person's hands and tied behind their back and they are lifted off the ground by a rope tied to their wrists and that allowed to drop until their fall is checked by the rope

taffeta: a crisp smooth lustrous fabric

terrazzo: flooring material consisting of chips of marble or granite set in concrete and polished smooth

tippet: a woman's fur shoulder cape with hanging ends; often consisting of the whole fur of a fox or marten

triptych:  art consisting of a painting or carving (especially an altarpiece) on three panels (usually hinged together)

vellum: fine parchment prepared from the skin of a young animal e.g. a calf or lamb

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