I'm in the midst of reading Room by Emma Donoghue, which is told from the perspective of a young boy, Jack, who turns five years old at the beginning of the novel. Many of the words in Room are capitalized as if they're proper nouns, such as "Room", "Wardrobe", "Bed", "Skylight", "Lamp", and of course, "Ma", which cleverly signifies their importance as names in the young protagonist's world. Since I haven't encountered any "hard words" in this book, my words were taken from my handy 365 New Words-a-Year calendar.
1. deus ex machina: a person or thing (as in fiction or drama) that suddenly and surprisingly provides a solution to a difficult conflict
Ancient playwright Euripides is often criticized for his frequent use of the deus ex machina.
|Euripides, courtesy of Wikipedia|
2. triskaidekaphobia: fear of the number 13
As a child in NY, I noticed that some buildings with elevators did not have a 13th floor, which was due to triskaidekaphobia.
Appropriately, this was the calendar's word of the day last Friday, September 13. The origin of the fear of this number is not clear, although some think it stems from the Last Supper, when Jesus was betrayed afterward by one of the thirteen present. This fear has been prevalent enough to require a word to describe it. The word was formed by adding the Greek words for thirteen, treiskaideka (minus the first e), to phobia.
3. toothsome: agreeable, attractive; of palatable flavor, delicious
At noon, Tatiana gave the new boy a toothsome muffin from her lunch, and hoped he'd find her toothsome in her red dress. (I try not to use the same adjective twice in a sentence, but I'm illustrating the two different meanings of the word here.)
Although I can never seem to remember its meaning correctly, I've come across this word before, and associate it with teeth, for obvious reasons, and more specifically with the word "toothy", which means having or showing many or large teeth (as in "a toothy smile").
Interestingly, the next word in my calendar, for Thursday, September 19, is "meme", which is defined as an idea, behavior, or usage that spreads from person to person. For information about memes for book bloggers, please visit my Memes page.
Hosted by Kathy from BermudaOnion's Weblog, Wondrous Words Wednesday is a meme that motivates us to learn about words. What new words have you discovered recently?