Tag Archives: definitions

New Words Make Me Mean

I will not debarrass you of this hebdomadal review sentence, so do not be perfidious by using only a moiety of the words or you may have to wear a phylactery of shame around that excrescence you call your head.

Our words for this week are:


Posted by on February 18, 2012 in Jane Eyre


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Circular Shame

debarrass:  v.  to disembarrass, relieve, or remove what encumbers

Classic Usage:  Jane wants time alone to think about the next step in her life, and finally her roommate’s snores debarrass her of interruption.  Miss Gryce was finally asleep and Jane could think in peace.

Classically Mad Usage:  I sort of hope that my forgetfulness will debarrass me of this new vocabulary word, it certainly is encumbering me right now.  In casual conversation I’m afraid someone will think I don’t know how to pronounce embarrass.  That would be embarrassing, and I don’t know what could debarrass it after it occurred.

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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Jane Eyre


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I bet Dr. Quinn knew all these words.

excrescence:  n.  an abnormal outgrowth or disfiguring part

Classical Usage:  The Merriam-Webster suggested usage for this word is: warty excrescence in the colon.  Eeeewww, groooossss!  So, what in Jane Eyre could stick out in such a unappealing way?  The tightly wound buns of the poor girls at Lowood.  Remember how Brocklehurst had their locks cut off?

Classically Mad Usage:  Much like chilblains, I hope not find much application for this, at least not in terms of warty colon growth.  And even though I’ve been known to post a few gratuitous pictures of the excrescence of my daughter’s tresses on my other blog, I’ll spare you here.

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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in Jane Eyre


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Russell the Perfidious

perfidious:  \pro-nun-ci-a-tions-are-too-hard\  adj.  untrustworthy, disloyal, deceitful

Classical Usage:  The definition above could simply read, “Mrs. Reed.”   Jane remembers, “the perfidious hints given by Mrs. Reed about my disposition . . .”

Classically Mad Usage:  This word could really beef up my incessant jabber about reality TV.  Tomorrow night begins a new season of Survivor, and I can’t wait to find out who will be the perfidious player I love to hate.  Can you?


Posted by on February 14, 2012 in Jane Eyre


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moiety:  \moi’-(upside-down e thingy)-tee)\  n.   one of two equal parts

Classical Usage:  Remember that entire piece of bread that Jane got yesterday because it was Sunday?  Yes, well in the next sentence she tells us, “I generally contrived to reserve a moiety of this bounteous repast for myself; but the remainder I was invariably obliged to part with.”  That’s right, she still ended up with only a half a piece of bread.  Poor Jane.

Classically Mad Usage:  I think I’ll work to make this part of our children’s normal conversation.  I can hear it now, “Mom, he has a bigger moiety than me,”  “Mom, he’s on my moiety of the couch, “Mom, if I only eat a moiety of my meatloaf can I still have dessert,”  “Mom, can we watch Planet Heroes, it’s only a moiety of an hour long?”



Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Jane Eyre


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Literature’s Lexicon

I love words.  That does not mean I have a particularly strong vocabulary.  There have been words in all the works we’ve read that have caused me to get out the good ol’ dictionary.  Yes, the actual book – we keep one in the glove compartment of the van because we don’t have internet there.   Only dumb phones in this household.  Plus, there’s nothing like the cool breeze of the alphabetized pages of a Merriam-Webster flipping off your thumb.

Okay, fine.  I sometimes use Google.

In most of our books I’ve just let context do its job and give me the basic gist of the unfamiliar.  In fact, I’ve become so reliant on context that I sometimes forget that if the words were standing alone on a blank piece of paper they would be nothing more than vocables to me. (I’m not ashamed to say I looked that one up.  I’m not even totally sure I’m using it correctly, but it’s all an effort to stretch and grow.)

Never have I cared so much about discerning the meaning of the text as I do in P&P.  My bookmark this time around is that blank sheet of paper.  Unfamiliar words make there way onto the paper and if it gives me a bit of SAT flash-back panic then I take the time later to give it a good look-up.  I suppose the vocab list could go in my journal with my other thoughts on the book, but I like the knowledge that this list can be destroyed once the meanings have been researched, leaving no permanent record of my ignorance.

Except for this post, of course.  But the internet’s not permanent.  Right?

Anyway, here are some of the words that may, or may not, have achieved a place on my disposable bookmark of definitions.

Alacrity:  brisk and cheerful readiness.  It’s no wonder I didn’t know what this word meant, I don’t think I’ve ever demonstrated it.

Brook:  tolerate.  Not where Mr. Gardiner goes fishing at Pemberly.

Condescending:  Apparently at the time of this novel this word did not have the same negative manner it carries today.  So, from now on when you condescend to talk at my level about these words I will not be offended.

Copse:  a small group of trees.  Apparently there are small groups of trees all over England, but I fear that Seth Grahame-Smith might have forgotten to do his Google research, and instead assumed the word was “corpse.”  Now the world has this book.  Too bad, really.

Entail:  What is entailed in an entail?  You’ve got me.  But I do know that if your land has one then your daughter’s lives entail finding a good hubby.

Good Humor:  a cheerful trait in a young woman, especially when given an ice cream bar.

Panegyric:  public speech of praise.  I already offered my panegyric here.

Phaeton:  a light, open four-wheeled carriage usually seating four.  In 200 years someone will read a novel written today that mentions a phaeton and will be unsure if it is speaking about the carriage or the Volkswagon luxury sedan.  Maybe Austin should have stuck with carriage.

Sennight:  One week.  Think of it as a contraction- se’nnight – and factor in the days, too.

Solicitude:  care for someone or something.  I hope you have as much solicitude for these words as I do.  Also, I hope that my ignorance of their meanings doesn’t leave me in solitude.  If so, will you have solicitude for me?

Taciturn:  Again, I probably didn’t know this word since I’ve rarely chosen silence.  Also, it sounds like a kind of bird to me.  Kind of a quiet one, though.

Volubility:  Talkativeness.  Now here’s a word I should have known.

Wonderful:  Full of wonder.  I know, not what you thought it meant, right?  It can be used like this:  “It is wonderful that airplanes stay in the air.”  Wait, that’s not a good example.  Maybe – “It is wonderful that you read this blog.”  Still not helpful.  Try this, “It is wonderful that I did not know the definitions of all these words.”


Posted by on October 30, 2011 in Pride and Prejudice


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