Wondrous Words Wednesday 02•18•09

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a cool new meme that Kathy from BermudaOnion recently came up with. The basic idea is for participants to share new (to them) words they’ve come across in their reading. This is a great opportunity to expand our vocabularies and maybe even try out some of the new and wondrous words we learn. I’m excited about this meme, but then I was always the kid who looked forward to spelling tests :P

Here are a few words (and an expression) I’ve come across this week, that made me reach for the dictionary:

• auguries

Source - Found in The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby 
Usage - ”Despite all these various auguries, I hadn’t necessarily expected to read every word of the Lowell biography, but Hamilton is such a good writer, and Lowell’s life was so tumultuous, that it was gone in a couple of days, like an Elmore Leonard novel.”
Definition - from the word augury, an omen, token, or indication. A sign of something coming.

• phaeton 

Source - From F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 
Usage - ”Then he turned sharply, and without another word climbed into his phaeton, which was waiting at the curbstone, and drove severely away.” 
Definition - A four-wheeled carriage (with or without a top), open, or having no side pieces, in front of the seat. It is drawn by one or two horses.

• fin de siècle

Source - Stumbled across this expression in the novel About The Author by John Colapinto 
- ”It’s a fin de siècle Bright Lights, Big City, with a GenX twist and some post-mo juju thrown in for good measure.
Definition - French term meaning the end of the century, mostly used in English to signify, belonging to, or characteristic of, the close of the 19th century. Modern or up-to-date.

Come across any great new words, phrases or expressions this week? Or would you just like to see what’s prompted people to define? Then head over to BermudaOnion Weblog’s for Wondrous Words Wednesday.

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.


avisannschild said...

I love the way you formatted this post! I'd seen all your words/expressions before, although I would have had trouble defining phaeton exactly. Since I speak French, I knew the literal meaning of fin de siècle, but I didn't know it was primarily used to mean the end of the 19th century.

My WWW post is here.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for playing along. Like Avis, I knew the literal translation for fin de siecle, but not it's meaning.

Serena said...

I love the word phaeton!

Nymeth said...

I love how you organized the post too!

Beth F said...

Great list of words. People who read fantasies get to know the word auguries early on!

Phyl/Bookishgal said...

I hear ya, about the spelling tests. I bet you never got any words incorrect either. :-)

I knew these words (I still don't know how to pronounce "phaeton" properly), but I hadn't realized fin de siècle had that more specialized meaning. That's fascinating.

And here are mine.

An Anonymous Child said...

I knew phaeton and auguries but my French has never been so good. Usually when I stumble across French sayings in classics I just ask someone who does know some French or I just pass over it. That made reading "Villette" a little difficult...

Chris said...

Well this is just a fun new meme! I'm going to have to start marking words in my books and playing along :)

Chris said...

Well this is just a fun new meme! I'm going to have to start marking words in my books and playing along :)

Anonymous said...

I'm excited to see all these vocab posts! Also, if you like rockabilly, there was (sad, past tense?!) a band called The Phaetons and you can see them here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lTU4eVLAe4

Melissa said...

Cool post! I always associate phaetons with Georgette Heyer books. :-) Love your blog--I'm a follower and it's on my blogroll.

Have a great weekend!

Trish said...

I love reading everyone's words for this weekly feature! I think the first time I heard fin de siecle was in reference to Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. I'll forever associate Wilde with the term.

Hazel said...

I've come across phaeton in Pride and Prejudice. Thanks for taking up the other two. I love learning things like these.