A lesson in vocabulary: Learning from Something Red by Douglas Nicholas

Why, yes, I always carry a dictionary with me!

This week’s question was brought to you by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee: What is the biggest word you’ve stumbled across lately that you didn’t know the meaning of? I recently read and reviewed Something Red by Douglas Nicholas. It is a wonderful book, read it if you like historical fantasy. However, you might want to have a dictionary handy. I stumbled across the following words that I was not familiar  with. My confusion is your lesson in vocabulary for the day (and consider me very impressed if you already knew these):

traneen: something of little or no value

frumenty: a popular dish in Western European medieval cuisine

portcullis: a grating of iron hung over the gateway of a fortified place and lowered between grooves to prevent passage

sithee: Northern English for look here or listen

blankmanger: a kind of thick custard

unguents: a soothing preparation spread on wounds, burns, rashes, abrasions or other topical injuries

smaragds: any green gemstones, such as emeralds

gallimaufry: a hodgepodge; jumble; confused medley

spalpeen: a rascal

While I did love this book, it also served as a much needed lesson in word humility. The only one of these I had an inkling of was portcullis.

What about you? Stumble over any mysterious words lately?

Photo: The Sartorialist

7 thoughts on “A lesson in vocabulary: Learning from Something Red by Douglas Nicholas

  1. Funny that you posted this! I’m in the middle of a book that has lots of unusual words that I’m keeping a note of for my review. It’s nice to pick up the dictionary!


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