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Wondrous Words Wednesday

March 24, 2010

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.)

All of my words this week came from Next by James Hynes.

1. pointillist– “Above the bed, at the margin of the dim lamplight, a pointillist blot of green mildew had been spreading slowly across the bedroom ceiling for years, and it looked to Kevin now like the stain of his grandfather’s last, diseased breaths.”

Pointillism is the theory or practice of in art of applying small strokes or dots of color to a surface so that from a distance they blend together.


2. meniscus – “Still holding the stick, her heart pounding, happily oblivious to the tang of her own pee, she plunges her hand into her purse on the bed and comes up with her phone, then rises from the bed and floats barefoot over the carpet to the window, where she gazes out at the sunlight glinting on the dirty water of the Chicago River below, then lifts her eyes to the glittering meniscus of Lake Michigan, in what she guesses is roughly the direction of Ann Arbor, and she starts to tear up at the thought of her boyfriend, her landlord, her lover, not quite her husband, the man she isn’t entirely sure loves her.”

Meniscus has several meanings, but the one that seems to fit the best in this sentence is a crescent or crescent-shaped body.


3. australopithecines– “He had no doubt that if civilization collapsed and they were reduced to living like australopithecines, it would be Stella who’d pluck up her spear and go out hunting, while Kevin tended the fire and sewed together the skins of the animals that she dragged back to their cave.”

Australopithecine wasn’t in my dictionary, but according to wikipedia, it refers to two very closely related genera within the Hominina subtribe of the Hominini tribe.  In other words, a primate that lived on Earth millions of years ago.


What new words have you encountered lately?

30 Comments leave one →
  1. March 24, 2010 5:17 am

    Wow, I can’t even pronounce this week’s words!

  2. March 24, 2010 6:09 am

    #3 is a hard word indeed!!!! I did however know #1..go me 😀

  3. March 24, 2010 6:41 am

    These are really good, fun words. I would never remember how to spell “aus…..” Pointillist is a word from Impressionist art I’ve heard or read. I expected you to talk about “diseased breath” speckling the ceiling. Isn’t that interesting the many ways you can use one word?

    My word isn’t up yet. I know;I’m like a turtle.

  4. Kaye permalink
    March 24, 2010 6:58 am

    Geez, I though meniscus was a tendon in the knee.

  5. March 24, 2010 7:49 am

    I’d heard of meniscus from knee trouble as well, but didn’t know that’s what it meant. I love pointillist–hope I can remember that one.

    My words are here:

  6. March 24, 2010 8:05 am

    I only knew meniscus because of the part of the knee by the same name.

    It’s interesting to get a sneak peek of NEXT. The author definitely has a way with words.

  7. March 24, 2010 8:27 am

    Meniscus was something I learnt during my Chemistry days in School/College.

    Great words!

  8. March 24, 2010 8:38 am

    Never heard “meniscus” before. And to think I used to live right by Lake Michigan and never knew it was meniscus!

  9. March 24, 2010 9:02 am

    Ooh great words! I did pointillist art in high school and it was SO fun to see the larger picture come together. But it requires a LOT of patience to sit there making nothing but dot after dot after dot. Still, totally recommended. 🙂

    My WOW is at The Crowded Leaf.

  10. March 24, 2010 9:04 am

    those are great words this week, and the sentences are wonderful teasers! Makes me wanna read the book…

    My words can be found here

  11. March 24, 2010 9:16 am

    I knew none of these. Now i am trying to commit at least one to memory so I can use it in a sentence 🙂

  12. March 24, 2010 9:18 am

    I remember reading the word meniscus somewhere. I think I might have heard it a few times in a book where someone had a heart transplant. But of course while the word rings a bell, the meaning had totally escaped me.

  13. March 24, 2010 9:27 am

    I knew the first two, although I, too, thought meniscus was part of the knee. Here are mine:

  14. March 24, 2010 10:00 am

    australopithecines? ok, you are just making them up now, aren’t you…lol

  15. March 24, 2010 10:03 am

    I knew the first two – never come across the last one.

    Here are mine:

  16. March 24, 2010 10:17 am

    I can’t even pronounce that third word! Pointilism is a really cool art form, but not very popular nowadays. I made a few works in pointilism in art school, it takes forever!

  17. March 24, 2010 10:35 am

    Pointillism sounds neat. I think I’ve seen examples of that type of art.

    My words are HERE.

  18. March 24, 2010 10:42 am

    Pointillist is very apt for this week as I read an art book: The Swan Thieves. One of my words is a technical art one as well.
    Here you go:

  19. March 24, 2010 11:32 am

    Thank you so much for your weekly word lessons. These are good ones.

  20. March 24, 2010 11:43 am

    I feel like a real *brainiac* today, because I knew the first two words (the first from my study of art and the second from my study of science). But your third word, australopithecines, I never heard before! 🙂

  21. March 24, 2010 2:21 pm

    lol-I’m not sure I’d like reading a book with that many complicated words.

  22. March 24, 2010 3:13 pm

    Haha! I knew “pointillist.” That’s what 2 years of art school got me. 😉

  23. Amy Steele permalink
    March 24, 2010 4:13 pm

    Andi– I would hope so as when I read pointillist I thought of all the impressionist artists right away.

    here’s mine:
    [my first time joining in]

  24. March 24, 2010 4:25 pm

    Well, I was feeling so clever since I was so familiar with the first two words–then I got to the last one!

  25. March 24, 2010 4:30 pm

    These are all new to me, and like Alice, I don’t think I can pronounce them 😛

  26. March 24, 2010 5:22 pm

    Well, I knew two and guessed one, but like most everyone who had heard meniscus, it was in reference to knees. That last word is a doozy. I guessed and came close, so I’m smugly thinking I deserve a little red rosette to pin on my chest. 😉

  27. March 24, 2010 7:52 pm

    “Next” sounds like a great book. I’ll keep my eye out for your book review.

    Great words, they’re all new to me.

    Happy Reading!

  28. March 24, 2010 8:39 pm

    Being an English teacher, I really appreciate your weekly word lessons. It’s such a fabulous idea! 🙂 Great choice of words…..#3- wow!

  29. March 25, 2010 1:04 pm

    I can honestly say that I have never even seen nor heard any of these words, lol! What a fun way to build one’s vocab!!

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