Interesting Words

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


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