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Wondrous Words Wednesday

December 23, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.  If you want to play along, grab the button, and join the fun!  (Don’t forget to leave a link in the comments if you’re participating.)

My first word this week came from The Body in the Sleigh by Katherine Hall Page.

1. catholic – “Both children were comfortable in the kitchen and catholic in their tastes.”

I know what catholic means when used in a religious context, but couldn’t figure out it’s meaning in this sentence.  A quick check of my dictionary revealed that it means broad in sympathies, tastes or interests.


I discovered my next two words in Evening’s Empire by Zachary Lazar.

2. conjuration – “A kind of conjuration.”

I drew a blank when I saw this word, but after I looked it up, I couldn’t believe I didn’t know it and/or couldn’t figure it out.  Conjuration means the act or process of conjuring: incantation.


3. phantasmagoria – “It had taken only the length of his drive home from the office for the office to seem like a phantasmagoria.”

Phantasmagoria has several meanings, but they all relate to the same thing.  It means an exhibition or display of optical effects and illusions.


What new words have you encountered lately?

24 Comments leave one →
  1. December 23, 2009 6:44 am

    Phantasmagoria was new to me. I don’t think I can manage to pull that off in casual conversation, can you? Makes for a great new word though.

    I have a couple of new words this week. You can find them HERE.

  2. December 23, 2009 6:49 am

    All new words for me!!!

  3. December 23, 2009 7:20 am

    Phantasmagoria is one of my favourite words. I have used it often in my poetry.

    Here is my Wondrous Words Wednesday post!

  4. December 23, 2009 7:21 am

    I like your words. Unfortunately, with all the chaos at my house right now, I couldn’t participate this week! I promise I’ll be back!

  5. December 23, 2009 7:59 am

    I think it would be fun to use phantasmagoria in my day to day conversation 🙂 Nice choice of words this week

  6. December 23, 2009 8:05 am

    Growing up Lutheran, we were confused by the word Catholic in the Lord’s prayer and I were taught that it meant unified.

    Here’s my words…

  7. December 23, 2009 8:16 am

    Isn’t phantasmagoria a fun word?!? 🙂 Here are mine for this week:

  8. December 23, 2009 9:04 am

    I’m interested in Gautami’s remark that she uses phantasmagoria in poetry – I’m thinking that must be in free verse rather than rhyming! :–)

  9. December 23, 2009 9:17 am

    I never knew the word catholic had a meaning outside of the religious context. And Phantasmagoria is such a cool word!

    My words:

  10. December 23, 2009 9:23 am

    Catholic is the only one I knew because I had to look it up in my readings as well.

    My list is here:

    Have a blessed Christmas, everyone!

  11. December 23, 2009 10:42 am

    I had no idea that “Catholic” meant that too!

  12. December 23, 2009 11:04 am

    I actually get the catholic reference. Just couldn’t explain it.

  13. December 23, 2009 11:18 am

    Mine are posted at my place, Just Books. Have a safe and happy holiday season.


  14. sumanam permalink
    December 23, 2009 12:22 pm

    Wow I didn’t know about that “Catholic”.

    Ever since I bumped into you, sorry , your blog, I love reading your posts, even added you on my blogroll.

    Happy Holidays.

  15. December 23, 2009 2:27 pm

    What great words this week Kathy! I have never heard of catholic used in this way before. I haven’t had much time for reading this last week so no new words for me today.

  16. December 23, 2009 2:42 pm

    I remember asking my Mom when I was a kid why the word catholic was in one of our Lutheran creeds and so I knew this word when not capitalized meant something more general but I don’t think I could have quite explained it.
    My words are posted at the end of a book review:

  17. December 23, 2009 2:57 pm

    Huh. I haven’t heard catholic used in that context before either.

  18. December 23, 2009 3:18 pm

    First of all COOL meme, and secondly I had no idea that was also a meaning for catholic! And thirdly, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

  19. December 23, 2009 4:31 pm

    Awesome new words for my vocab list–thanks!

  20. December 23, 2009 6:01 pm

    I’m reading the new Hitchhiker’s Guide book, “And Another Thing… ” and many of the words are made-up, which makes reading it fun. Among them: flaybooz, buffa-biscuit” and g-g-grunntivartads, “a swearword “that increases in potency with each added g.”

  21. December 23, 2009 6:56 pm

    I was certainly aware of all the meanings of Catholic…and catholic. But that was it this week.

  22. December 23, 2009 7:53 pm

    I LOVE that use of the word catholic! When I try to use it in conversation, though, I always have to explain. And then I’m worried people will think I”m pretentious. :/

    I’m reading Moby Dick right now, and Melville’s diction is so much fun! He’s also got quite a few seafaring neologisms, and they’re all wonderful. My fave is when he referred to Ahab has ‘demasted’ since he lost a lef. 😀

  23. December 24, 2009 2:11 am

    I’ve seen catholic used in that sort of context, but thought that it meant narrow tastes instead of broad. (I think I assumed that because of the rules and structure of the religion.)

  24. December 24, 2009 3:17 am

    Conjuration was pretty obvious to me (hello HP fan?)! Surprised you didn’t get that.

    I like that – catholic – though I’m not a catholic but that it has another meaning aside from the religious usage.

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