Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thursday Thirteen 238: Vocabulary--A Tale of Two Cities, Pt 1

As I have averred in previous posts, reading the classics is an excellent way of expanding one’s vocabulary. Here are a few of the many great words I noted during a recent reading of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it. I admit that it was a little slow-going in the beginning, but by the middle of the novel I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough and stayed up all night to finish it. Examples of usage are taken from the novel.

hardihood [hahr-dee-hood] noun
1. Boldness or daring; courage; Audacity or impudence.
USAGE: If any one of the three had had the hardihood to propose to another to walk on a little ahead…

adjuration [aj-uh-rey-shuhn] noun
1. An earnest request; entreaty.
2. A solemn or desperate urging or counseling:

blunderbuss [bluhn-der-buhs] noun
A short musket of wide bore with expanded muzzle to scatter shot, bullets, or slugs at close range.
USAGE: With this hurried adjuration, he cocked his blunderbuss, and stood on the offensive.

fain [feyn] adjective
Archaic: constrained; obliged.
USAGE: His message perplexed his mind to that degree that he was fain, several times, to take off his hat to scratch his head.

offal [aw-fuhl, of-uhl] noun
The parts of a butchered animal that are considered inedible by human beings; carrion.
USAGE: Hunger stared down from the smokeless chimneys, and started up from the filthy street that had no offal, among its refuse, of anything to eat.

atomy [at-uh-mee] noun, plural -mies.
1. An atom; mote.

porringer [pawr-in-jer, por-] noun
A low dish or cup, often with a handle, from which soup, porridge, or the like is eaten.
USAGE: Hunger was shred into atomies in every farthing porringer of husky chips of potato, fried with some reluctant drops of oil.

predicate [v. pred-i-keyt] verb, -cated
To proclaim; declare; affirm; assert.
USAGE: There was a character about Madame Defarge, from which one might have predicated that she did not often make mistakes against herself in any of the reckonings over which she presided.

provender [prov-uhn-der] noun
Food; provisions.
USAGE: Monsieur Defarge put this provender, and the lamp he carried, on the shoemaker’s bench (there was nothing else in the garret but a pallet bed), and he and Mr. Lorry roused the captive, and assisted him to his feet.

postilion [poh-stil-yuhn, po-] noun
a person who rides the left horse of the leading or only pair of horses drawing a carriage.
USAGE: The postilion cracked his whip, and they clattered away under the feeble over-swinging lamps.

incumbent [in-kuhm-buhnt] adjective
Obligatory (often followed by on or upon)
USAGE: But, by this time she trembled under such strong emotion, and her face expressed such deep anxiety, and, above all, such dread and terror, that Mr. Lorry felt it incumbent on him to speak a word or two of reassurance.

incommodious [in-kuh-moh-dee-uhs] adjective
Inconvenient, as not affording sufficient space or room; uncomfortable:
USAGE: It was very small, very dark, very ugly, very incommodious.

immolate [im-uh-leyt] verb
To sacrifice.
USAGE: That, he had been the prisoner’s friend, but, at once in an auspicious and an evil hour detecting his infamy, had resolved to immolate the traitor he could no longer cherish in his bosom, on the sacred altar of his country.


How many did you recognize? Are there any that you particularly liked?


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14 comments:

Shelley Munro said...

Eek, there were quite a few that I didn't know.

Adelle Laudan said...

I love 'new to me words', but in some of the classics you need to have a dictionary on hand. Fun list. Happy T13!

Heather said...

Shelley: I hope you recognized a couple at least! ;)

Adelle: So very true! Footnotes (as was present in this book) for cultural references help, too.

colleen said...

I can practically hear Dickens saying those words. I have a tape of him reading a Christmas story and the language it makes my head spin (in a good way).

Brenda ND said...

How fun! I love learning new words. Thanks, Heather.

Heather said...

Colleen: I bet that is amazing to listen to!

Brenda: I'm glad there are people who share my love of words. *G*

Alice Audrey said...

I was describing the Oxford English Dictionary (where you'd have to look to find some of these) to my kids last night. My son said, "Wow, that's even more words than the Bible."

Jana said...

words like that are probably why I found the forced 9th grade reading of Tale of Two Cities so unusually cruel and inhumane. I'm still suffering from the trauma and thanking God for Cliff's Notes. :-D

Also? blunderbuss *snicker* I'm totally going to start calling people that just because it's such a funny word.

Yes, I'm immature. ;-)

CountryDew said...

Recognized a few - but not all! Great words.

The Gal Herself said...

This is the most *humbling* TT I have seen in a long time! (Nicely done.)

Heather said...

Alice: I actually used dictionary.com to look these up, but most are actually in my print dictionary as well. *g*

Jana: ROFL..."blunderbuss" is a kind of fun word, isn't it? I beleive there is an alternater meaning that is a synonym for "oaf," but for words that have multiple meanings, I only listed the one here that pertained to usage from the book.

Heather said...

Anita: Thank you! :)

Gal: I think I have come across all of these before, except porriger, but wasn't necessarily sure of the meaning for all of them.

alphawoman said...

It happens all the time!! I begin reading a book and have to haul out the dictionary to look up words!! My vocab must be life support. I realize this after reading Tender is the Night. Seems like I read too much"potato chip" trash. lol.

Heather said...

Alphawoman: All reading is good reading, no matter what the genre. Thanks for visiting!