Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wondrous Words Wednesday

One of my favorite weekly memes is Wondrous Words Wednesday, hosted by Kathy from Bermudaonion's Weblog. Today's words are from Heaven to Betsy by Maud Hart Lovelace.

1. leadplant (Amorpha canescens): North American herbaceous flowering plant; other names: false indigo, prairie shoestring, wild tea
~Photo from WildOnes

Native Americans used the dried leaves of this bushy prairie shrub for pipe smoking and for tea.

2. butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa): species of milkweed native to eastern North America; other names: Canada root, Indian paintbrush, orange milkwood
~Photo from Wikipedia

Butterflies are attracted to the color and copious nectar produced by this plant. Native Americans used this plant as a remedy for wet coughs and other pulmonary ailments.

"The roadsides offered no shade, only thickets of purple spiked leadplant and gaudy butterfly weed."
~Heaven to Betsy, Maud Hart Lovelace

The next two words sound like Armenian last names.

3. Philomathian: lover of learning

This word began in ancient Greek as philomathia from philos "love of" and mathos "learning".

4. Zetamathian: investigator

Information about this word is scarce. Luckily, Bonnie--a character in Heaven to Betsy--defines the word in the book, because I didn't find it elsewhere.

"The students were divided between Philomathians and Zetamathians, societies which competed in athletics, in debate, and in essay writing as the three cups testified."
~Heaven to Betsy, Maud Hart Lovelace

I'm not sure I'd choose to be a Philo or a Zeta based on the meaning of the words; I enjoy both learning and investigating (which is often part of learning).

What wondrous new words have you encountered during recent reading?


  1. Great word! All of your words are new to me, but if I'd thought of philomathian long enough I might have been able to figure it out. Thanks for participating.

  2. I didn't know you were doing a word Wednesday sort of thing! How great! I need some butterfly weed. I am still suffering from a scratchy throat or maybe it is still upper respiratory but either way it is a constant ugly cough.

    Hope you are well!

  3. Kathy, this terrific meme feeds my need for philomathia and zetamathia; thanks for hosting it!

    Kim, feel better soon. I enjoyed your writer's workshop today.

  4. I love your blog. Plus I appreciated you keep lists. ;-)

  5. God!! I will never remember these words I am sure. But maybe I will recognize them IF I read them again :)

  6. I like your use of pictures with the words. I guess I'm a visual learner but I love to see new plants and now I've learned the new words to go with them.

  7. Leadplant doesn't sound like it would be very healthy! Zetamathian is great, but I don't know where I would ever use it.

  8. I have never, ever heard of the Leadplant before! It is so interesting to think of all of the new things we come across as readers! Great post, Suko!

  9. Great post, I like that you included pics. I'm both a Philo and Zeta ;)

  10. I have definitely heard Indian Paintbrush. I think that they attract humming birds, too.

  11. I never heard false indigo called leadplant. Interesting. I love herbs and have gardens. Thanks.

  12. Fredamans, thanks for stopping by. My list keeps getting longer. :)

    Veens, I keep a list of the new words I find in my books or on others' blogs. Writing them down in longhand helps me to remember them (and I can always refer to the list if I don't!). :)

    Margot, thanks. I couldn't resist adding a few photos, a bit of spring, to the post.

    Lisa, leadplant is not the most attractive name, either; I prefer "wild tea".

    Zibilee, thanks for your great comment, as always.

    Naida, I'm both, too. :)

    J.T., I love the name Indian paintbrush!

    Wisteria, you have the perfect name for a gardener.

    Thanks to all for the time to comment. Additional comments welcomed.


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