Skip to content

Wondrous Words Wednesday

February 11, 2009


There does seem to be some interest in a Wondrous Words Wednesday meme, so I’m going to give it a shot.  Feel free to join in whenever you have new words to share.  Here are some new (to me) words I discovered last week:

1. emanuensis – This was used in Drood, by Dan Simmons, like this:  “By the weekend, Caroline had hired a male emanuensis to sit in a nearby chair and take my dictation. ”

Emanuensis refers to persons performing a function by hand, either writing down the words of another or performing manual labor.

2. moppeen – I found this word used in Very Valentine, by Adriana Trigiani, like this “Gram twists a striped moppeen around her hand and rests it in her lap.”

I haven’t been able to find a definition for this word, but from the context, I think it means dishrag.  Does anyone know for sure?

3. caparisoned – This is another word I found in Drood.  “Then, follow white elephants caparisoned in countless colors. . .”

Caparisoned means to be dressed in richly ornamented finery.

4. minims – Dan Simmons used this in Drood like this:  “How many minims did you use?”

A minim is a unit of volume in both the imperial and US customary systems of measurements.

What new words have you discovered lately?

38 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2009 5:42 am

    Okay, this meme, I’m going to do. Starting next week. I always skip over words I don’t know and try to guess from context, it will be much more fun if I write them down and post them.

    I’m not sure if my minims are the same as in Drood, that looks like a musical reference, but in palaeography (reading old handwriting) minims are the stems of letters such a “m”, “n” and “u”. M has 3, n and u have 2 (and often look the same) and then there is i, which is only one minim. It gets confusing when you have 4 or 5 and have no idea what the word is!

  2. February 11, 2009 6:50 am

    My Italian immigrant grandmother always referred to her dishtowel as a moppeen….you guessed right!

  3. February 11, 2009 7:01 am

    Thanks JoAnn, I couldn’t find a definition for the word either.

  4. February 11, 2009 7:22 am

    Moppeen is a dishtowel – my mother-in-law used that term all the time.

  5. February 11, 2009 8:57 am

    I assumed the same as you with moppeen. I look forward to joining in Wondrous Words Wednesday in the future!

  6. February 11, 2009 9:13 am

    Yay! I was really looking forward to starting this meme. My words are here.

  7. February 11, 2009 9:33 am

    Sounds like I’m going to need a dictionary for DROOD! I promise to start writing down words!

  8. February 11, 2009 9:41 am

    Great words…I have no idea what a moppeen is

  9. February 11, 2009 10:15 am

    I want to do this meme too, although I haven’t come across any new words this week (that I’ve noticed). These are all great ones! I had heard of emanuensis before, but I couldn’t have defined it. All the others are totally new to me.

  10. February 11, 2009 10:18 am

    I noticed that Drood was full of words I didn’t know! I have a pretty decent vocab from so much reading, but “caparisoned”? What?! 🙂 This is a great idea. Once I get my blogging back on track, I’ll join in.

  11. February 11, 2009 10:25 am

    I’m going to have to start writing down the words I look up so I can post them – what a great idea! And I agree with Julie – Drood seems to require keeping a dictionary handy.

  12. February 11, 2009 10:48 am

    Wonderful meme, which I heard about through Minds Alive on the Shelves. I did a quickie today, and kind of cheated, but I’m going to do it properly next week. Great idea, and I’m glad you started this!

    Here’s mine.

  13. February 11, 2009 10:49 am

    Since I am reading Drood now, I appreciate these definitions even more!

  14. February 11, 2009 11:19 am

    This is a wonderful meme, Kathy! I don’t have anything ready for today, but I’m going to compile my list for each week!

  15. February 11, 2009 11:59 am

    I may start referring to the dish-cleaning things (Sctoch-Brite sponge, kitchen towel) as “moppeens” … my kids can add another mom-eccentricity to the list 🙂

  16. February 11, 2009 12:52 pm

    I’ve come across a couple of new words this week also. Mine are here
    Thanks Kathy for this new fun meme.

  17. February 11, 2009 1:11 pm

    I always pay attention to this every week, although I haven’t run across any words to share. I think my problem is that, even though I’m reading Drood as well, I read so many Victorian novels in college, that I soaked up all the unusual words and my reading eye thinks of them as being normal. I’ll keep an eye out for new ones. Promise!

  18. February 11, 2009 1:20 pm

    Boy, I will need a dictionary if I read Drood…but it does sound like a good book. I posted my word here:

  19. February 11, 2009 1:44 pm

    I always look up the words I don’t know then move on. It will be fun to make a weekly list and then share them. Although I will have to start next week, I would like to share one word that I came across yesterday…it is so strange and wonderful…

    incunabula – 15th century books
    (from Old Books, Rare Friends by Rostenberg and Stein)

    I look forward to playing next week.

  20. February 11, 2009 1:50 pm

    I started doing this on my own, just today I put up my first official post: Words from my reading

  21. carolsnotebook permalink
    February 11, 2009 1:59 pm

    My post is up. I’m hoping this helps me actually look up the words instead of just guessing from the context.

  22. February 11, 2009 2:36 pm

    This is so fun! I’ll have to make a note and participate next week.

  23. February 11, 2009 3:38 pm

    I love this meme!! 🙂

  24. February 11, 2009 3:39 pm

    Cool! Maybe I’ll do this someday.

  25. fleurfisher permalink
    February 11, 2009 4:07 pm

    I knew emanuensis, but your other three words are new to me. I have 2 new words here. This is a great idea!

  26. February 11, 2009 6:00 pm

    Cute picture!

  27. February 11, 2009 7:15 pm

    I can honestly say that I have never heard of ANY of those words.
    So I have decided that they are all fake! 🙂

  28. February 11, 2009 7:39 pm

    Can you come back to Savvy Verse & Wit and tell me which book you prefer from the giveaway! I forgot to mention it in the rules (which are amended now)….oopsie…thanks.

  29. February 12, 2009 8:14 am

    I love caparison! and it works well with my current read: Mauve by Simon Garfield. The chapter I’m on now discusses the Victorian fashion trends.

  30. February 12, 2009 9:21 am

    I knew the word “emanuensis” from Cloud Atlas, but the rest were new to me. Very cool!

  31. February 12, 2009 1:26 pm

    How fun! I admit I haven’t heard of any of the words you list in this post.

  32. February 12, 2009 5:33 pm

    Cool! Like I said last week, if I find any new words I’ll be sure to join in.

  33. February 12, 2009 7:58 pm

    Thanks for the definitions Kathy – I’m about 1/2 way through Drood – so they are definitely coming in handy!

  34. February 13, 2009 10:24 am

    I love these every week! I wish I could say I am adding them to my vocabulary, but that would be a lie.

  35. March 11, 2009 4:22 pm

    This meme is so fun! I’m reaching for (or typing into, rather) the dictionary far more often. I used to just gloss over words didn’t know, with my best guess. Here the words I found this week:

  36. Rosemary permalink
    May 4, 2012 4:25 pm

    The word moppeen is used several times in Adriana Trigiani’s new book, the Shoemaker’s Wife. Thankfully I found the meaning of it, dish cloth of sorts, on this site. By the way The Shoemaker’s Wife is a wonderful book.

  37. September 23, 2018 4:23 pm

    Ms Trigiani also uses the word, moppeen, in The Shoemaker’s Wife: “…placed a clean moppeen over his shirt…”. This indicates it would be a cloth or dish towel.

  38. Lois kfoury permalink
    January 26, 2021 8:58 am

    Moppeen is a sort of dishtowel to tuck into the waist to clean up minor spills when working in kitchen . It is called moppeen in Italian immigrants .other cultures use it too but just have named it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: