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Wondrous Words Wednesday

October 20, 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 Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

1. bowdlerize– “But despite bowdlerizing content, my family has been entirely faithful about visiting.”

Bowdlerize means to modify by abridging, simplifying, or distorting in style or content.


2. cresol – “It’s caused by a cresol compound used by a manufacturer.”

Cresol is any of three poisonous colorless crystalline or liquid isomeric phenols.  I don’t know what all of that means, but I do understand that it’s poison.


3. surcingle– “They wear no halters, no side reins, no surcingles – nothing.”

A surcingle is a belt, band, or girth passing around the body of a horse to bind a saddle or pack fast to the horse’s back.


Have you come across any new words lately?

28 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2010 6:30 am

    I think bowdlerize is named for a man named Bowdler who cleaned up text by taking out all the dirty words.

    I just finished rereading The Pit and the Pendulum by Poe. In it the victim is tied down with a surcingle.

    These words are good to know.

    • givingreadingachance permalink
      October 21, 2010 5:25 am

      That’s great info on Bowdlerize, make sit easy to remember… but this word reminds me of bull dozer. 🙂

      Like all the words this time.

  2. October 20, 2010 8:03 am

    I never cease to be amazed at the words you uncover all new to me again this week.

  3. October 20, 2010 8:09 am

    Those are really interesting! I have a bunch of new words again today – check them out!

  4. October 20, 2010 8:54 am

    These three new words are very interesting. I also found some new words. See my post at Joyfully Retired.

  5. October 20, 2010 9:12 am

    Hmmm, bowdlerize. Seems like the circus (I think that’s the setting) is having trouble introducing originality into its acts. Is that the idea? Great words.

    My word for this week is a humdinger.

    • October 20, 2010 9:16 am

      At the point this sentence was used, the protagonist is in a nursing home – he’s referring to the fact that his family visits faithfully, but they’re careful about what they say in front of him, in affect censoring what he’s told.

      • October 20, 2010 9:32 am

        Oh, okay. That makes so much more sense. Thanks Kathy.

  6. October 20, 2010 9:46 am

    I know I’d heard bowdlerize, but I’m not sure whether I would have remembered what it meant. A pretty usable word, though!

    Here’s my words post for this week:

  7. October 20, 2010 9:54 am

    Surcingle is such a neat word, and it’s fun to say! Try it! Surcingle, surcingle, surcingle! Thanks for sharing these with us!

  8. October 20, 2010 9:58 am

    Bowdlerize is a word my family actually uses a lot and I’m not sure why. I think we picked it up in a book and liked it and it stuck with us. I love the Wondrous Words for Wednesday idea. I’m still not completely sold on e-readers (I have the Nook and do kind of like it) but one of the real upsides is getting to look up words there and then.

    I’ll have to add some new words.

  9. October 20, 2010 11:42 am

    Very cool words. I always feel so dumb when I read WWW posts! I think I use the same plain words over and over again.

  10. October 20, 2010 12:04 pm

    I must admit that I’ve never run across “bowdlerize” before.

  11. October 20, 2010 12:12 pm

    Another week of interesting words! Thanks, Kathy. 😀

  12. October 20, 2010 12:41 pm

    Bowdlerize sounded familiar to me for some reason, although I couldn’t really define it. I’m hoping to do this meme soon–maybe later today. 🙂

  13. Karen Montgomery permalink
    October 20, 2010 1:05 pm

    This is my first week, but here is all my new words for the week:

  14. October 20, 2010 2:08 pm

    Fascinating words! Bowdlerize is a strange word, not sure I would ever use it but surcingle is a great word. I feel like I should be familiar with it because my sister was an avid horse-back rider for years while we were growing up & she owned a horse for several years so I hear quite a bit about the care of horse and the equipment used. Not to mention, I read “Water for Elephants”!
    Cresol is an interesting word and I know I have heard it discussed on Law & Order!

    I love this meme & I’m so happy I remembered to participate today! My words are posted on my blog:
    Amy’s Wednesday Words!

    Thanks Kathy!
    ~ Amy

  15. October 20, 2010 2:25 pm

    I’ve always liked the word “bowdlerize.”

  16. Alyce permalink
    October 20, 2010 2:26 pm

    The only one I’d heard of was bowdlerize, but I didn’t remember what it meant.

  17. October 20, 2010 3:31 pm

    I just posted a WWW! 🙂

  18. October 20, 2010 3:54 pm

    I like the last one, but when would I get to use it 😉

  19. October 20, 2010 6:26 pm

    Surcingle definitely has a nice ring to it!

  20. October 20, 2010 9:31 pm

    I like surcingle…neat words…fun to say.

  21. October 20, 2010 10:01 pm

    #2 must be where the word creosote came from.

  22. October 21, 2010 7:11 pm

    Great words! I knew bowdlerize, but the others are new (well, I’ve read Water for Elephants, so I guess I must have seen them before). Your lovely meme (which I learned about from Margot) has taught me to pay more attention to new vocabulary as I read, rather than just skim up the meaning. Thanks for sharing.

  23. October 21, 2010 11:39 pm

    I didn’t realize this extended beyond Wednesday. Great! Well, looks like bowdlerize is this week’s winner—with surcingle running a close second?

  24. October 23, 2010 4:28 am

    What a great meme!

  25. October 24, 2010 9:55 am

    Going to make up a song with Cresol…

    It’s cresol… dangerous… oooo ahhhhh….

    nope don’t think it’s going to be a seller… going back to my day job….

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