Interesting Words

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


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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