Uncommon Words: Part Three (The Name of the Wind)

uncommon words

Welcome back to another edition of “Uncommon Words” featuring exciting words I find in fiction.

These articles feature words that I don’t use very often (if ever) along with their definitions and how they are used in the book. I will try to avoid any book spoilers by replacing them with dashes. I am doing this in the hope that I will start using more of these words in my writing. Let’s build our vocabulary together!

You can find other articles in this series here.

This article will feature a few words I found in “The Name of the Wind” which is book one in “The Kingkiller Chronicles” by Patrick Rothfuss.

THE NAME OF THE WIND:

  • verdigris. n. a bright bluish-green encrustation or patina formed on copper or brass by atmospheric oxidation, consisting of basic copper carbonate.
    • Usage in book: “Nearby there were three great pillars covered in green verdigris so thick it looked like moss.”
  • spurious. adj. not being what it purports to be; false or fake.
    • Usage in book: “Re’lar Ambrose, in the future you will refrain from wasting our time with spurious charges.”
  • inveterate. adj. having a particular habit, activity, or interest that is long-established and unlikely to change.
    • Usage in book: “Threpe was an inveterate gossipmonger with a knack for tasteless innuendo, and I have always had a gift for a catchy tune.”
  • rote. n. mechanical or habitual repetition of something to be learned.
    • Usage in book: “They are fine for rote learning, but the study of naming requires a level of dedication that ravel such as yourself rarely possess.”
  • remand. v. place (a defendant) on bail or in custody, esp. when a trail is adjourned.
    • Usage in book: “Re’lar Ambrose is officially remanded for laxity in his duty.”
  • mollify. v. appease the anger or anxiety of (someone).
    • Usage in book: “Arwyl seemed mollified.”
  • simulacrum. n. an image or representation of someone or something. <SPECIAL USAGE> an unsatisfactory imitation or substitute.
    • Usage in book: “You let the boy make a simulacrum of you, then bring him here on malfeasance?”
  • auspicious. adj. conductive to success; favorable.
    • Usage in book: “I took it to be an auspicious sign and walked in.”
  • sophist. n. a paid teacher of philosophy and rhetoric in ancient Greece, associated in popular thought with moral skepticism and specious reasoning. <SPECIAL USAGE> a person who reasons with clever but fallacious arguments.
    • Usage in book: “You sound like a sophist, boy.”
  • altruism. n. the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.
    • Usage in book: “If this is to be a full and honest account of my life and deeds, I feel I should mention that my reasons for inviting Ben into our troupe were not entirely altruistic.”

Uncommon Words: Part Two (The Last Colony)

Welcome back to another article of “Uncommon Words” featuring exciting words I find in fiction. These articles feature words that I don’t use very often (if ever) along with their definitions and how they are used in the book. I will try to avoid any book spoilers by replacing them with dashes. I am doing this in the hope that I will start using more of these words in my writing. Let’s build our vocabulary together!

This article will feature a few words I found in “The Last Colony” which is book 3 in “The Old Man’s War Trilogy” by John Scalzi. Not as many as I found in the last book, but some good ones in here.

THE LAST COLONY:

    • rictus. n. fixed grimace or grin.
      • Usage in book: “Hickory’s smile passed from ghastly into rictus territory.”
    • provisional. adj. arranged or existing for the present, possibly to be changed later.
      • Usage in book: “I’m provisionally wrong about the Mennonites,” Jane said, looking back to me.”
    • ostensibly. adv. apparently or purportedly, but perhaps not actually.
      • Usage in book: “This was ostensibly a research trip for me and Jane and selected colonists, to recon our colony site and to learn more about the planet.”
    • perambulate. v. walk or travel through or around (a place or area), esp. for pleasure and in a leisurely way.
      • Usage in book: “Out of the corner of my eye I saw Beata Novik, his camerawoman, do her slow perambulation.
    • wry. adj. using or expressing dry, esp. mocking, humor.
      • Usage in book: “Rybicki grinned wryly, and tossed his sorghum to the ground.”
    • ostentatious. adj. characterized by vulgar or pretentious display; designed to impress or attract notice.
      • Usage in book: “No one in town had a floater; they were ostentatious and impractical for a farming community.”
    • ombudsman. n. an official appointed to investigate individuals’ complaints against maladministration, esp. that of public authorities.
      • Usage in book. “I was offered the position of village ombudsman, which I took, and was surprised on the first day of work to find Savitri there, telling me that she was going to be my…”
    • apparatchik. n. Derogatory or Humorous. An official in a large organization, typically a political one.
      • Usage in book: “The planet is called Huckleberry, named no doubt by some Twain-loving apparatchik of the Colonial Union.”

Uncommon Words: Part One (The Ghost Brigades)

This article is the first of a new series of articles featuring interesting and uncommon words I find in fiction.

These articles will specifically feature words that I don’t use very often (if ever) along with their definitions and how they are used in the book. I will try to avoid any spoilers by replacing them with dashes. I am doing this in the hope that I will start using more of these words in my writing. Let’s build our vocabulary together!

This article will feature a few words I found in “The Ghost Brigades” which is book 2 in “The Old Man’s War Trilogy” by John Scalzi.

You can also check out Uncommon Words Part 2.

THE GHOST BRIGADES:

  • mirthless. adj. (of a smile or laugh) lacking real amusement and typically expressing irony.
    • Usage in book: “Sagan allowed herself a moment of mirthless amusement at the fact that her mind-reading ability, so secret and classified, was also completely useless to her.”
  • progenitor. n. a person or thing from which a person, animal, or plant is descended or originates; an ancestor or parent.
    • Usage in book: “If she came across —-, she would need to make a quick determination whether he was useful or if he had gone traitor like his progenitor.
  • attenuatedadj. unnaturally thin. <SPECIAL USAGE> weakened in force or effect.
    • Usage in book: “The noise of their engines attenuated away, leaving nothing but the ambient sounds of nature behind.”
  • gambolv. run or jump about playfully.
    • Usage in book: “You will stay,” it said, and gamboled off before Sagan could say anything.” 
  • trill. n. a quavering or vibratory sound, esp. a rapid alternation of sung or played notes. <SPECIAL USAGE> the pronunciation of a consonant esp. r, with rapid vibration of the tongue against the hard or soft palate or the uvula. or v. produce a quavering or warbling sound.
    • Usage in book: “The head Obin turned and trilled something.”
  • eschatology. n. the part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind.
    • Usage in book: “…it seemed unlikely to him that a people so concerned with the ineffable and eschatological would create a people incapable of…” 
  • ineffable. adj. too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words. <SPECIAL USAGE> not to be uttered.
    • Usage in book: “…it seemed unlikely to him that a people so concerned with the ineffable and eschatological would create a people incapable of…” 
  • putative. adj. generally considered or reputed to be.
    • Usage in book: “The other interesting thing about the Obin — which made their putative alliance with…” 
  • acquisitive. adj. excessively interested in acquiring money or material things.
    • Usage in book: “The one saving grace about the Obin was that they were not particularly acquisitive as starfaring races went.”
  • gird. v. encircle (a person or part of the body) with a belt or band. <SPECIAL USAGE> secure (a garment or sword) on the body with a belt or band. or surround; encircle.
    • Usage in book: “Jared noted the sudden and impressively disconcerting appearance of a broad system of rings less than a klick above his point of view, girding the limb of a blue…” 
  • subsume. v. (often be subsumed) include or absorb (something) in something else.
    • Usage in book: “All the Special Forces training and development subsumed individual choice to the needs of the squad or platoon; even integration…” 
  • vaunt. v. boast about or praise (something), esp. excessively.
    • Usage in book: “‘Ah, the vaunted Special Forces snotty, attitude,” Mattson said.”
  • dissonance. n. lack of harmony among musical notes. <SPECIAL USAGE> a tension or clash resulting from the combination of two disharmonious or unsuitable elements.
    • Usage in book: “Jared was struck immobile by the cognitive dissonance of having a —- in his lab, and through the confusion came a knife-like frisson of fear …”
  • internecine. adj. destructive to both sides in a conflict.
    • Usage in book: “If the tribes knew an heir was sterile, they would not wait for the natural span of the heir’s life to begin their internecine warfare.”
  • incredulous. adj. unwilling or unable to believe something.
    • Usage in book: “Daniel Harvey gave a look of sheer incredulousness, and Jared was reminded…” 
  • tripartite. adj. consisting of three parts.
    • Usage in book: “…their tripartite plan to attack humanity.”
  • diffident. adj. modest or shy because of a lack of self-confidence.
    • Usage in book: “Other members of the platoon were diffidently polite when forced to be but otherwise ignored the two of them whenever possible.”
  • implacable. adj. unable to be placated. <SPECIAL USEAGE> relentless; unstoppable.
    • Usage in book: “This universe is implacable…”
  • gestalt. n. an organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.
    • Usage in book: “Presently it coalesced into one big idea, a gestalt that allowed him to respond.”
  • adjutant. n. a military officer who acts as an administrative assistant to a senior officer.
    • Usage in book. “The colonel here doesn’t particularly like me, either, and he’s my adjutant.” 
  • bolus. n. a small rounded mass of a substance, esp. of chewed food at the moment of swallowing. <SPECIAL USAGE> a type of large pill used in veterinary medicine.
    • Usage in book: “…enough remained to impact the planet’s surface, the flaming bolus smacking hard and fast onto a plain of rock…”