Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday

 

These words are brought to you by 
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen


This image found here.
Austen launches into her encomium on the female novelistic tradition when Catherine retires to read Radcliffe’s fiction—not theirs. (xv)


encomium (noun)
glowing and warmly enthusiastic praise
Definition found here.


I had a devil of a time finding an image for praise that wasn't hands raised to God so I gave up and came up with what I think is a fair compromise for the image, which clearly focuses on the quote and not the definition.  I had never heard the word encomium before and I don't see myself using it but one never knows.  Certainly, there's the argument for always choosing the most precise word and this one could actually prove to be useful.  Certainly, it's more concise than "warmly enthusiastic praise."


This image found here.
For Tilney, the malentendu demonstrates a typically feminine carelessness of thought and language, a carelessness at once regrettable and amusing. (xx)


Malentendu (noun)
a misunderstanding
Definition found here.


You know how sometimes a word is just fun to say?  This word is one of those.  Again, in context, I figured out what it meant but looking words up is fun.  I loved the discussions between Tilney and Catherine in this novel, even though I can't say this was my favorite novel by Austen.


Image found here.
[Tilney] confessed himself to have been totally mistaken in his opinion of their circumstances and character, misled by the rhodomontade of his friend to believe his father a man of substance and credit. . . . (236)




rhodomontade
a bragging speech
Definition found here.


I had no clue what this word meant.  I looked up the etymology and it literally means "one who rolls away a mountain."  I can almost see that and certain appreciate the metaphor behind this word.  But I think it's safe to say that I'm very unlikely to ever use this word in my own writing or speech.

BTW, I highly recommend you visit the image link for this little "brag book" the blogger made because I think it is a wonderful idea, one that could easily be modified to more than a brag book for a baby.


Image found here.
Do you know, I saw the prettiest hat you can imagine in a shop window in Milsom-street just now—very like yours, only with coquelicot ribbons instead of green; I quite longed for it. (28)


coquelicot (noun)
a French vernacular name for the wild corn poppy
Definition found here.


Poppies are such an audacious flower and the symbolism of a woman comparing her red preference to another's green is the sort of subtle meaning that I love.  Now, when I read the word in the novel, I assumed it referred to a sort of fabric or pattern.  Then when I found this glorious image (by Kees van Dongen, an artist of whom I'd never heard but with whom I am now enchanted).  Doesn't that woman with her kholled eyes and red hat evoke the simple boldness of a brilliant poppy?  This is why I do enjoy creating these Wondrous Words posts because I get to learn new things, make discoveries, and just delight in the experience of it all.

MERCIER Louise Fillette Redigeant Ses Devoirs
Image found here.
. . . and to her his devoirs were speedily paid, with a mixture of joy and embarrassment which might have informed Catherine, had she been more expert in the development of other people’s feelings, and less engrossed by her own, that her brother thought her friend quite as pretty as she could do herself. (34)


devoir (noun)
duty, responsibility
Definition from here.


This is another "new to me" word and I love saying it.  I love the way it feels in my mouth--devoir.  I even like to type it.  Unfortunately, I doubt I shall be adding it to my regularly vocabulary.  I think it's because I would feel others might perceive my using it as pretentious.  Not that this prohibits me from using words with which I am comfortable but this doesn't feel comfortable so it's not likely to just be slipped in.  Then again, were I to start using it in my personal writing then it would inevitably grow more familiar and then all bets are off.
Image from this site.

Did you ever see such a little tittuppy thing in your life? (55)


Apt to tittup
Definition from here.
Tittup lively, gay, or restless behavior
Definition from here.


I don't know how or why this word fell out of use because it's so perfect. You don't even have to look it up to know what it implies. And it's fun to say.  Tittuppy.  It is not, however, fun to type.

15 comments:

  1. I really like this post. A post dedicated to new words. When I was an adolescent I vowed to learn one new word per day and somewhere over the years I slowly stopped doing it. Great post as always :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I enjoy putting these together but this particular one took me longer than usual because I had a hard time finding images that I really liked. I have a back-log of these to do as a result. But I think the words from this novel were particularly challenging when it came to finding images.

      Delete
  2. You did a great job on this - very thorough and well-written!! I agree that we need to bring back tittuppy! Lol! Good job. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes. My dogs are tittuppy and sometimes when I'm walking I am at risk of tittupping over. I am sure if I keep using it, others will join in and soon we will all be talking about tittuppy things.

      Delete
  3. What a gorgeous post Satia! I especially love the images you've chosen for your words. I remember looking up coquelicot when I read Northanger Abbey too- way before Wondrous Words....I know malentendu and devoir because they are lifted straight from French. Encomium is an intriguing word.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad because it took me hours and hours of searching to be content. I literally would give up and walk away to mull over synonyms and such in hopes of finally coming to something that worked. And these aren't even all the words I found. I actually broke the novel into two WW posts. So there's more coming next week.

      Delete
  4. It is my devoir (you're right it is fun to say) to tell you that I adore all your words! Especially rodomontade! I've been following your Wondrous Words and your page is my last to visit. You did a superb job!
    PS I'm your newest follower.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere. I don't typically enjoy memes but I adore this one. It would be nice if I could create this posts in less time but I really like to find images that will help reinforce the meaning (or even mock it sometimes).

      Delete
  5. A lot of those words look like they have their origin in French, so I feel like I should have known some of them, but I didn't. I love that you included images with your definitions!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think most of them are French in origin. I suppose that shouldn't come as a surprise, since it is once again Jane Austen. After next week, she won't appear in my WW attempts for a while. And thank you, as always, for this wonderful meme.

      Delete
  6. Fun words. All new to me, although they shouldn't be -- I'm sure I read Northanger Abbey when I went through my Austen phase about 15 years ago.
    Joy's Book Blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I've read Northanger Abbey before so they ought not to have been new to me either but that would have been about 15 years ago as well and I've forgotten so many things between then and now, six words doesn't seem so surprising. Oh. Wait. I have another list of words from the novel I'm posting next week. Never mind.

      Delete
  7. Your words are wonderful. I can't come up with a favorite. Each one is great to learn.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think this book offered the most fun with new words. Certainly more than most books typically offer.

      Delete