Jean Croker Petke


I continue to find words I don’t know, or don’t have working knowledge of, in the books I read.  I’m making a collection of these words here.  Perhaps you will find them of interest.

From The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx:

pellucid: Clock hands leapt to pellucid evenings.

malefic: Some knew it as a place that bred malefic spirits.

louring: Quoyle almost recognized the louring sky.

ruvid: Up and down the highway three times before they spied a ruvid strip tilting away into the sky.

papillose: Bunny peered through the freezer door at papillose frost crowding the ice cream tubs.

craquelured: Diddy Shovel’s skin was like asphalt, fissured and cracked, thickened by a lifetime of weather, the scurf of age. Stubble worked through the craquelured surface.

gledgy: Shot black looks from his gledgy eyes.

nacre: His pupils enlarged in the cark, he saw the sky rinsing with the nacre sheen of approaching light.

shinniked: “I’m shinniked with cold,” he shouted, blowing on his chapped hands, backing his great rear up to the gas heater.

From Words Are My Matter by Ursula K. LeGuin:

abnegation: Little abnegation was demanded, and no sacrifice of life for art or art for life.

coracle: some men, led by a man named Horsa, set off by raft and coracle to explore beyond their world-island.

pastiche: pastiche, when present, is so skillful it can go unnoticed.

seraglio: I shriek and fall back fainting upon my seraglio couch.

From The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz:

heuristic: a heuristic is a rule of thumb, a mental shortcut

From Return Trips by Alice Adams:

Chiaroscuro: your voice has chiaroscuro.

crenellated: near the crenellated battlements of the castle

From One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp:

roborant: I thirst for some roborant, some elixir, to relieve the anguish of what I’ve believed

coruscates: freshly fallen snow coroscates in the sun, countless stars across fields, trees in the woods falling soundlessly, their blue shadows stretching.

carapace: A god who beaks through the carapace of this orb only now and then, surprises us with a spared hand . . .

From Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez:

quotidian: He contributed to domestic peace with a quotidian act that was more humiliating than humble.

hegemony: [they] succeeded in electing a president from their party after forty-five years of Conservative hegemony.

ineluctable:  little by little, as in an ineluctable shipwreck, he felt himself losing his good judgment.

troglodyte: the Liberals considered him a Gothic troglodyte.

climacteric: Ofelia was married to a solid bank employee from New Orleans, and had reached the climacteric with three daughters and no son.

madapollam: Cousin Hildebranda lent Fermina Daza a madapollam nightgown

ossuary: they had dispatched the decayed remains of many nameless civic heroes to the communal ossuary

lacustrine: balsam apples and crepe myrtle hanging in the lacustrine gardens.

From The Lowlands by Jhumpa Lahiri:

detritus: sifting at random through the detritus of his boyhood

From The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye:

opprobrious: Indians who had hitherto been treated as equals became ‘natives’ and the term itself lost its dictionary definition and became an opprobrious word, signifying members of an inferior–and coloured–race.

From Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle:

perspicacious:  a perspicacious eleven-year-old

pusillanimous:  it is pusillanimous to resort to he/she, him/her of even worse, android words.

interstices: the language of Cranmer and Coverdale could not but seep through the interstices.

pellucid: the pellucid, mathematically precise structure of a Bach fugue.

smarmy: the smarmy picture of Jesus which I find nauseating…

piosity: They have confused piosity with piety…

munificence: this munificence is one of the joys of creativity

salvific: I hope that I will never forget the salvific power of joyful laughter