Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday


Wondrous Words Wednesday


Today's words are all brought to you the novel Emily's Quest by Lucy Maud Montgomery


n the Plesaunce Knostrop Hall Leed 1875 - John Atkinson Grimshaw - www.johnatkinsongrimshaw.org
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An enchanted pleasaunce, full of rich, sensuous colours and wonderful spiritual shadows. (4)

Pleasuance
noun
(obsolete) The region of a garden with the sole purpose of giving pleasure to the senses, but not offering fruit or sustenance.
(obsolete) An area distinctly separate from a garden reserved for aesthetic planting that shares the same bedding properties.
Definition from this site

One of the joys of reading classics is finding new words and the occasional obsolete word is even more delightful a discovery. And this word, falling away into the archaic, is such a lovely one. Albeit, I can see why it fell away. Nevertheless, I think that the idea of pleasure nuanced within this word is just wonderful.

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Laura’s tears and Cousin Jimmy’s pleadings and Dr. Burnley’s execrations and Dean Priest’s agreements budged her not a jot. (55)

Execration
noun
The act of cursing; a curse dictated by violent feelings of hatred; imprecation; utter detestation expressed.
That which is execrated; a detested thing.
Definition from this site

I tell you, if I can’t find a way to weave this into my own writing, then I’ve become downright lazy. Unfortunately, I could not find an image that really described the word, especially within the context of family, friends, and medical professional arguing over the way a treatment should be given to someone. And execrate is powerful with meaning, especially given the more polite society in which this novel is solidly rooted.  (And again, I'm taking liberties with the image but this one cracks me up.)

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But now in these drear weeks of pain and dread she shared the hope of the Patmian seer. (56)

I hesitate to share this one because the plain and simple fact is I cannot find any definition or explanation for this phrase. Who is “the Patmian seer”? When I try to search for it quotes from this novel and another novel by the same author are plentiful but nothing that says to what this allusion is referring. This is so frustrating. No doubt there is a story behind this that I cannot discover. If anyone else can shed some light for me, I would greatly appreciate it.



Thank heaven, Emily, you and I were never the miauling kind. (209)

Miaul
verb
Another word for meow
Definition from this site

Okay. Who didn’t see that coming? It certainly sounds right on every level—not only does it read like any onomatopoeia word ought to read but contextually it makes sense. You don’t even have to have read the novel to immediately get the meaning.  

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6 comments:

  1. I never knew L. M. Montgomery wrote books with words like that. I've known some people who are pretty good at execrating in my day. Great words!

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  2. Love L.M. Montgomery! Great words I also read the Emily books.

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  3. Hello, BermudaOnion. I'm surprised by some of the interesting words Montgomery uses. Like you, I was pleasantly surprised.

    Peggy, I do as well. I typically don't like romance novels but for whatever reason, Montgomery and Austen make me happy.

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  4. I think they make you happy because deep down you are secretly a hopeless romantic and a softie.

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  5. Samael, You'd have to dig pretty deep to get to where I'm a softie let alone a romantic. I'm mean. I'm like vicious kitten or manic puppy dangerous. grrrrrr

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  6. The Patmian seer refers to the apostle John, who wrote the book of Revelation in the Bible on the island of Patmos. It is the book in he Bible that talks about the end of the world and Jesus coming to take his followers to live in heaven with him for eternity. In this paragraph it is likely referring to the passages in Revelation where all pain and death and tears are forever wiped away for those who follow God.

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