I’ve been cleaning my home office/crafts room/reading room/place I stash stuff and I came across a very neat notebook that I had forgotten I had – at some point, I started writing down all the new words I came across in my reading, and their definitions.
Some sample pages:
I have always been what the writer Robert MacNeil calls “wordstruck” – overwhelmed by the beauty of language.
Here are some of my favourites, now rediscovered thanks to this notebook!
Angulate Wentletrap: A mollusk. An elongate but robust shell with whorls. From the Dutch wenteltrap, for “spiral staircase”.
Apocope: The loss of one or more sounds or letters at the end of a word, ie “hangin’ loose”. From the Greek apokoptein, “to cut off”.
Cacqueteuse: A 16th century chair for women, built to accommodate the bulky clothes then stylish. From the French caquet, “to chatter”.
Cockalorum: One who struts or boasts, appearing like a rooster.
Euneirophrenia: The peace of mind after a pleasant dream.
Monadnock: A mountain that has resisted erosion and stands isolated on a plain.
Obdormition: The numbness when one of your extremities falls asleep.
Pulchritudinous: Possibly the ugliest sounding word ever to mean “physically beautiful”.
Persiflage: Light, frivolous talk or flippancy, from the French persifler, “to banter”.
Quidnunc: Someone who is eager to hear the latest gossip. From the Latin quid nunc which literally means “what now”. How great is that?!
So, dear fellow readers, what are some of the words you’ve come across in your reading that left you wordstruck?