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Wondrous Words Wednesday

September 1, 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 my nifty Word-a-Day calendar.

1. campestral– “The wagon train moved slowly westward over the campestral landscape.”

Campestral is an adjective that means of or relating to fields or open country: rural.


2. jerkwater – “Larry called to tell us that his car’s engine had blown in a little jerkwater town in the middle of nowhere.”

Jerkwater is an adjective, too, and it means remote and unimportant or trivial.  It comes from the days of the steam engine.  The boilers had to be refilled with water fairly often and water tanks weren’t always easy to find.  Trains that ran on rural lines had to get water from local supplies that came to be known as “jerkwaters” because of the jerking motion of the buckets.  I think I can have a lot of fun with this word!


3. descry– “Just as the campers were about to go to bed for the night, Matthew descried a shooting star in the eastern sky.”

Descry is a verb that means to catch sight of or to find out or discover.  Descry is similar to decry, and while the two words are close relatives, they have different meanings.


Have you come across any new words lately?

24 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2010 5:01 am

    Heard of descry;, but not the other two. Nice calendar of words!

  2. September 1, 2010 5:32 am

    Wow..That is really new to me. I think I haven’t heard it!

  3. September 1, 2010 5:40 am

    I knew the use of the word jerkwater, but had no idea of its origins. Thank you for clarifying.

  4. September 1, 2010 5:45 am

    Love jerkwater.

    Never heard of it. 🙂


  5. September 1, 2010 7:14 am

    Another 3 words added to my vocabulary…thank you.

  6. September 1, 2010 7:50 am

    Jerkwater sounds fun to me, too!

  7. Kaye permalink
    September 1, 2010 9:05 am

    That’s a fun explanation of jerk water. I love explanation of word origins. You had some good ones this week.

  8. September 1, 2010 9:30 am

    Love the term jerkwater!

  9. September 1, 2010 9:45 am

    I had no idea jerkwater wasn’t just slang! It sounds like a word that has very negative connotations, but it’s not so bad. It’s really interesting where it comes from.

    And descried is one of those words I just cannot seem to remember. But the sentence it’s used in is a great one, I’m hoping I’ll remember it! It’s pretty interesting that one extra letter changes the word and meaning of “Decry”!

    Love this meme, Kathy. Hopefully I can get back here later to add some words of mine!
    ~ Amy

  10. September 1, 2010 9:45 am

    I knew jerkwater…maybe because I live there. 🙂

  11. September 1, 2010 9:55 am

    Sorry I didn’t play this week! Jerkwater is my favorite.

  12. September 1, 2010 9:58 am

    I wonder why Matthew didn’t just “see” a shooting star. Sometimes the exact word isn’t necessarily the right word, because people are off looking up the definition or simply don’t get it and move on.

  13. September 1, 2010 12:55 pm

    There’s a jerkwater town just down the road from me! My words are here:

  14. September 1, 2010 1:53 pm

    I had an idea of what jerkwater meant, but had no clue about it’s origins. I love interesting word origin stories!

  15. September 1, 2010 2:21 pm

    I’ve lived in jerkwater towns!!! LOL!! 😀

  16. September 1, 2010 3:19 pm

    Well, “campestral ” is definitely a new word for me, and I love it. I’d heard the other two. Very familiar with “jerkwater” – probably because of where I grew up. In South Texas you can descry tons of jerkwater towns all over the campestral landscape!

  17. September 1, 2010 3:31 pm

    I enjoy the learning about the background of some of your words, such as jerkwater, which is a terrific word! 🙂

  18. September 1, 2010 6:22 pm

    I do a word of the day for my facebook friends and this is the one from today.

    Word of the DayWednesday, September 01, 2010
    anacoluthia \ an-uh-kuh-LOO-thee-uh \ , noun;
    Lack of grammatical sequence or coherence, esp. in a sentence.

  19. September 1, 2010 8:36 pm

    When I was in 5th grade, we had to write a short story. I was heavy into Laura Ingalls Wilder at the time, and I wrote this story about a girl riding in a covered wagon with her dad (Original, huh?).

    I wrote, “Father wouldn’t dast make me. . . (I don’t remember what.” My teacher called me on it that it wasn’t a word.

    “Did you maybe mean dare?” she asked. No, I meant dast, and I thought it was a lovely word.

  20. September 2, 2010 3:09 am

    I think I’m going to have to start using “jerkwater” regularly 😛

  21. September 2, 2010 10:56 am

    Except for Descry, I didn’t know the other two!

  22. September 2, 2010 1:28 pm

    Jerkwater and descry stood out for me. Keep em coming 🙂

  23. September 3, 2010 4:19 am

    I love these posts since the day I descried them 😀
    Howzz that?!!

  24. September 8, 2010 10:34 am

    You always descry the best words.

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