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.
This latest round of interesting words comes from Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim.
alembic: An apparatus consisting of two vessels connected by a tube, formerly used for distilling liquids.
doubloon: A gold coin formerly used in Spain and Spanish America.
drachma: An ancient Greek silver coin.
gendarme: Originally, in France, a man-at-arms; a knight or cavalier armed at all points and commanding a troop; afterward, a member of a company or corps of cavalry; a cavalryman: sometimes also used for soldier in general.
mugwort: Any of several aromatic plants of the genus Artemisia, especially A. vulgaris,native to Eurasia and sometimes used as a condiment.
orrery: A mechanical model of the solar system.
ossuary: A container or receptacle, such as an urn or a vault, for holding the bones of the dead.
zoetrope: An optical toy, in which figures made to revolve on the inside of a cylinder, and viewed through slits in its circumference, appear like a single figure passing through a series of natural motions as if animated or mechanically moved.