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 Robin Hobb's Dragon Keeper.
aplomb: great coolness and composure under strain
chit: an official note giving information or showing a sum of money that is owed or has been paid
contralto: the lowest female singing voice
damask: a fabric of linen or cotton or silk or wool with a reversible pattern woven into it
deckhand: a member of a ship's crew who performs manual labor
dilettante: an amateur who engages in an activity without serious intentions and who pretends to have knowledge
enervate: weaken mentally or morally
fid: A pin of hard wood, tapering to a point, used to open the strands of a rope in splicing
hoyden: a girl who behaves in a boyish manner
humidor: an airtight container for keeping cigars or tobacco moist.
pedagogy: the profession of a teacher
peignoir: a loose dressing gown for women
penurious: excessively unwilling to spend
physicking: a purging medicine; stimulates evacuation of the bowels
slurry: a suspension of insoluble particles (as plaster of paris or lime or clay etc.) usually in water
somnolence: a very sleepy state
stippling: produce a mottled effect
supine: lying face upward
windlass: lifting device consisting of a horizontal cylinder turned by a crank on which a cable or rope winds
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