Sunday, April 25, 2010


Quaddy: A Quaddy is a 4WD ATV, or the Italian distributor of Quaddies.
Wheeled tracks led in and out through the lock at the end; someone was still driving a quaddy through here on a regular basis.
A Book for Today: Empress of Mars by Kage Baker

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Concupiscence: A concupiscence is a strong desire, especially a sexual desire. Concupiscence shares its etymology with covet and cupidity. Interestingly, the latter is not closely related to the Roman god of love - Cupid (Greek: Eros).
[Trixia] ascertained Essie swooned for William and she swooned too, although Essie said she didn't and Leona said she did. I saw concupiscence in her eyes.
A Book for Today: Where I Must Go by Angela Jackson

Friday, April 23, 2010


Oast: An oast is a kiln (or house) used to dry hops or malt.
Flames were leaping and flickering from the oast house.
Offices could be replaced, she told herself, even oasts.
It's like the fox finial on you oast.
A Book for Today: Murder Takes the Stage by Amy Myers

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Picture Hat

Picture Hat: A picture hat is an ornate, wide-brimmed hat, after the style painted in pictures by Gainsborough.
There were a fair number of people definitely 'dressed up' and not all of them elderly. She could see that Gemma, for instance, was wearing a large pink picture hat.
A Book for Today: Murder Takes the Stage by Amy Myers

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Trilby Hat

Trilby Hat: A eponymous trilby hat, after a novel by George du Maurier, first gained popularity in the 1920s, but continues to be revived for its casual look.
The wide skirts and the trilby hats clearly spoke of the fifties [sic].
A Book for Today: Murder Takes the Stage by Amy Myers

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Obdurate: Stubborn - hard against. Obdurate shares its etymology with durable, during, endure, durum wheat, and durometer, many connecting hardness with lasting and durable.
Certainly, Stanton's spine was stiffened by the controversies, and she plunged into the future with characteristic steadfastness, over obduracy.
A Book for Today: Elizabeth Cady Stanton by Lori D Ginzberg

Monday, April 19, 2010


Recce: British slang probably derivative of reconnoiter.
I agreed to join the crew and, a few months later, flew to Beijing for the "recce" (pronounced RECK-ee; British jargon for a reconnaissance mission) to select locations for filming.
A Book for Today: Warrior Women by Jeannine Davis-Kimball

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Ithyphallic: Ithyphallic is a academic term used by archaeologists to indicate that picture or a statue displays an erection.
The Greek men were often portrayed nude (sometimes ithyphallic), and although the Amazons manage to keep their clothes on during battle, occasionally a breast or shapely leg will erupt from a well-placed gap in their garments.
A Book for Today: Warrior Women by Jeannine Davis-Kimball

Friday, April 16, 2010

Torque (also Torc or Torq)

Torque (also Torc or Torq): A torque is a metal collar or necklace. Torque shares its etymology with a wide range of words: tort, contortion, torture, distort, extortion, the verb torque, and torch - all from the Latin root to twist.
A middle-aged Late Sarmation priestess in the Kobyakova kurgan ... was buried with a cast-gold torque ...
A gold torque whose terminals ended in snarling snow leopards encircled the youth's neck.
A Book for Today: Warrior Women by Jeannine Davis-Kimball

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Steppes: While steppe is a geography word with a precise technical meaning, the steppes generally refers to a high prairie that spans the middle of Asia.
Steppes is derived from the Russian word for plains or grassland.
A Book for Today: Warrior Women by Jeannine Davis-Kimball

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Amazon: In Greek mythology, Amazons were fierce women warriors. In the book Warrior Women by Dr. Davis-Kimball, she both establishes the historical basic for Amazons, and explains how the Greeks used the myth as a cautionary tale to remind the Athenian women to maintain their subservient, docile roles.

The etymology is popularly thought to mean without breasts, suggesting that breasts would be detrimental to women archers. However, women in Mongolia regularly demonstrate archery skills unfettered by their breasts. The name more likely derives from no husbands.

A Book for Today: Warrior Women by Jeannine Davis-Kimball

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chess Pie

Chess Pie: Chess Pie is a plain, but very sweet, southern dish, variously described as pecan with pecans, cheesecake with cheese, or plain custard. Of course, since it's unadorned, there are also many variations with different flavors added, such as fruits, nuts, corn and vinegar. The pie can be traced back to England and the name most likely derives from cheese (aka curd) pie, though many other stories abound.
Abraham handed me a huge slice of chess pie.
A Book for Today: Alex Cross's Trial by James Patterson

Monday, April 12, 2010

Poke Sallet

Poke Sallet: Poke Sallet is a spring weed from the American southeast, originally eaten by poor folks, but now revived as a delicacy here and there. It was popularize in the song: Poke Salad Annie. The etymology seems to be lost along with the spelling.
They ate squirrel and possum, poke sallet and dandelion greens.
A Book for Today: Alex Cross's Trial by James Patterson

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Scuppernong: The scuppernong is a large, green grape native to the American southeast. It is the state fruit of North Carolina.
I rode the bicycle two circuits around the tiny park in front of the Methodist church, took a left at the minister's house and another left at the scuppernong arbor.
A Book for Today: Alex Cross's Trial by James Patterson

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Hopsack: Hopsack is a weave where several woof and the warp yarns are woven together. Twill is another variation from the plain (1 warp, 1 woof) weave.
On the other hand, Miss C would have commended [Miss] Wallace's no-nonsense attire: a gray hopsack suit with a white blouse cinched at the neck with a brooch.
A Book for Today: Hollywood Buzz by Margit Lewis

Friday, April 9, 2010


Stygian: Stygian means hellish, dark and gloom and refers to the River Styx.
In the Stygian gloom he saw the late rose.
A Book for Today: Redwall by Brian Jacques

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Hessian: Hessian is an alternate term for burlap. The word more popularly is taught to every elementary school student in the United States to refer to the German mercenaries used by the British in the Revolutionary War against the Americans. The connection is that the uniforms for this soldiers, presumably the enlisted men, were made from burlap (hessian).
One of the legs collapsed and it fell backwards, revealing crossed lattice strips of hessian on its underside.
A Book for Today: Redwall by Brian Jacques

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Palliasse or Paillasse

Palliasse: A Palliasse is a straw mattress and shares its etymology with pallet, as in John 5:12 "Pick up you pallet and walk."

It was nothing special as Sparra habitations went: a straw palliasse, some butterfly wings stuck to the wall b way of decoration.

A Book for Today: Redwall by Brian Jacques

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Garrulous: Garrulous means to chatter, to talk incessantly about nothing of import. Garrulous is an apocryphal etymology for girl. However garrulous does shares its etymology with the bird genus garrulus (European jays) for obvious reasons.
He sat down and took his lunch with Mr and Mrs Squirrel, the Vole family, Silent Sam, and Basil the garrulous hare.
A Book for Today: Redwall by Brian Jacques

Monday, April 5, 2010


Lychgate: A lychgate is a gate to a church yard that was originally used as part of the funeral ceremony. Lych (Lich) is a Saxon/German root for corpse.
They carried with them the long plank from St. Ninian's lych-gate fence.
A Book for Today: Redwall by Brian Jacques

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Piebald: Piebald refers to a spotted animal, often a horse, but it was not always a horse. Piebald goes back to European birds: magpies and woodpeckers (family: picidae; genus: picus) who sported odd, black and white coloration.
His fierce eye gazed out across the mighty army: black rats, brown rats, grey rats, piebald rats, skulking weasels, furtive stoats and sinuous ferrets, all gathered around, their weapons glistening and dripping with the rain.
A Book for Today: Redwall by Brian Jacques

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Skittle: A skittle is a precursor to the bowling pin. Skittle possibly shares its etymology with shuttle.
Report to me or I'll have your skulls for skittles.
A Book for Today: Redwall by Brian Jacques

Friday, April 2, 2010


Cavil: To cavil is to quibble. It shares its etymology with calumny.
It would be too easy to cavil at the ignorance of point 7 (research into sex differences have been going on for 50 years).
A Book for Today: The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer
If the beauty be there in the picture, why cavil at the method by which it was obtained?
A Book for Today: The Crimes of Paris by Dorothy Hoobler

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Valetudinarianism: Valetudinarianism is a synonym for hypochondriacism with the signaler benefit of being two letters longer.
Likewise the exaggeration of illnesses, to the point of valetudinarianism and hypochondria, is often motivated by the continual reproach and not organic at all.
A Book for Today: The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer