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.
These interesting words were found in David Drake's Lord of the Isles.
breechclouts: a cloth worn about the breech and loins; loincloth
brocade: thick heavy expensive material with a raised pattern
cordage: the ropes in the rigging of a ship
garret: floor consisting of open space at the top of a house just below roof; often used for storage
gunwale: wale at the top of the side of boat; topmost planking of a wooden vessel
hawser: large heavy rope for nautical use
hobnailed: marked by the wearing of heavy boots studded with hobnail (hobnail: a short nail with a thick head; used to protect the soles of boots)
loofah: the dried fibrous part of the fruit of a plant of the genus Luffa; used as a washing sponge or strainer
oarlock: a holder attached to the gunwale of a boat that holds the oar in place and acts as a fulcrum for rowing
sluices: conduit that carries a rapid flow of water controlled by a sluicegate
transom: a horizontal crosspiece across a window or separating a door from a window over it
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