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Wondrous Words Wednesday

February 25, 2009


Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.  Feel free to join in the fun.  Here are some new words that I’ve discovered recently:

1. spoliation –  I found this word in Above the Law by Tim Green.  It was used like this, “Except when the plaintiff has a reasonable suspicion of spoliation of the evidence of conspiracy between domestic partners to use the marital privilege as a shield. . . ”

Spoliation is the act of plundering or spoiling.

2. beldam – I encountered this in Coraline by Neil Gaiman.  It was used like this, “Say nothing for the beldam might be listening.”

Beldam is an alternate spelling of beldame and means an old woman, particularly an ugly one.

3. dialectic – Ben Sherwood used this in The Survivors Club this way, “What keeps people going is the dialectic between their strong parts and their broken parts.”

Dialectic means any formal system of reasoning that arrives at the truth by the exchange of logical arguments.

What new words have you discovered lately?

29 Comments leave one →
  1. February 25, 2009 7:04 am

    Hi Kathy, those are some great words. Tim Green is such a fabulous writer. I really want to read that new one of his. I ran across a couple of words in Death of a Witch and they are here

  2. February 25, 2009 7:14 am

    I really like this little feature of yours. I’ll have to start looking for new words when I’m reading.

  3. February 25, 2009 7:21 am

    Awesome. Perhaps I should try and save my vocab words for an exclusive post and not just at the end of my reviews… Sorry – thinking with my typing fingers again.

  4. February 25, 2009 7:22 am

    Oo! you’ve turned on the new comment feature! So did I but forgot all about paying attention to it. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all works.

  5. February 25, 2009 7:39 am

    I’ve also seen Bedlam as a reference to the insane asylum in London. I guess it is really called Bethlem Royal Hospital. According to wikipedia, “The word bedlam, meaning uproar and confusion, is derived from its name.” I haven’t heard it in the other context you give.

    • February 25, 2009 7:45 am

      When I first saw the word, I thought it was bedlam, but when I looked closer, I noticed it’s beldam – the l and the d are reversed.

  6. February 25, 2009 7:51 am

    I like beldam, it kind of goes with bedlam (“the beldam was causing bedlam”) 🙂

    I have a new-to-me word this week, here it is!. Thanks for hosting this …

  7. February 25, 2009 8:18 am

    I’m really enjoying this. Once I *finally* finish listening to all 50 hours (or there abouts) of Cleopatra, I’ll try to join in.

  8. February 25, 2009 8:46 am

    Don’t you just feel so much smarter doing this meme? I am still too lazy to pull out the old dictionary! I’m getting closer though!

  9. February 25, 2009 9:14 am

    Great words! I’ve heard beldame, but never seen it spelled beldam.

    My words are here.

  10. February 25, 2009 9:41 am

    Dialectic is one I doubt from my distant past as a philosophy student.

    I need to read more challenging books so I can find some words I don’t know. 😉

  11. February 25, 2009 10:37 am

    I love the word dialectic…I used it as a title for one of my poems in a sort of ironic way.

    Anyways, here’s my first WWW post;

  12. February 25, 2009 10:58 am

    Those are great words. I like to feel them rolling off my tongue: “spoliation…beldam…” Yes, just lovely.

    Mine this week are rather medical. But I swear, next week they’ll be more ordinary, now that I’m finished that book on Descartes’ bones!!

    Here are mine

  13. February 25, 2009 11:01 am

    The only one I knew was dialectic. Probably because of my former life as a human resource professional. But now I can say that this beldam has her words ready here.

  14. Carol permalink
    February 25, 2009 11:30 am

    Thanks again for hosting this meme. My post is up.

  15. stacybuckeye permalink
    February 25, 2009 11:56 am

    I just finished Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and the camerlengo plays an important role. I’m only mentioning it because the last time we played Balderdash it was a word no one knew. Although I’m guessing Catholics would know that it is the cardinal who manages the Pope’s secular activities.

  16. February 25, 2009 1:11 pm

    Great words this week Kathy! I like to say dialectic…and now I actually know what it means! My new word is posted here:

  17. February 25, 2009 2:02 pm

    I love your word posts.

  18. February 25, 2009 3:25 pm

    I love spoliation. I think this is the one I’ll try to adopt this week.

  19. fleurfisher permalink
    February 25, 2009 4:33 pm

    Great words. I’m looking out for new words to post but nothing new this week I’m afraid.

  20. February 25, 2009 5:50 pm

    Hey Kathy, I read your note on the Needlepoint blog about Karen White’s book. If you want to review it, I’ve got her going out on virtual book tour in April…send me an email to I haven’t sent my mass email out to everyone but if you want to get in on it first, let me know. And anyone else who wants to review it, let me know.

  21. February 25, 2009 6:18 pm

    I haven’t heard any of these words before! I especially like the beldam one (even if every time I look at it I keep seeing bedlam instead lol).

  22. February 25, 2009 9:58 pm

    Those are some good words – I did not have any this week – think my reading needs to be upgraded! But I did fly through 2 books in the last 2 days!

    I just got Survivor’s Club and hope to start it soon.

  23. February 25, 2009 10:41 pm

    Spoliation is the word that kicked me out of our regional spelling bee – and kept me from going to Washington, DC – when I was in 6th grade! I made the mistake of asking for the root word – was given “spoil” – so put an extra “i” in there. I watched the documentary “Spellbound,” and I’m convinced the words are much harder now than they were all those years ago.

    I actually remembered to keep track of my words this week, and I have two: crepuscular and bucolic. You can find my post – and the definitions – here:

  24. February 25, 2009 11:18 pm

    I nearly forgot to mention that I joined in this week as well! This is a fun meme, thanks for hosting it. My wondrous words are here:

  25. February 26, 2009 7:16 am

    Cool words! I really like beldam, I’ve seen it used somewhere as a name for a grandmotherly type of woman, but never really knew what it meant.

    My words are here.

  26. February 28, 2009 11:20 pm

    I love reading these posts, Kathy! I’m hoping to find a few words in the book I’m reading now so that I can play next week!

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