Wondrous Words #54

Wednesday is the day I gather the new (to me) words I’ve come across in my reading. Wondrous Word Wednesday is hosted by Kathy/Bermda Onion.

Often, as I’m reading, I can figure out a new word from the context of the sentence. Here are a couple of examples from The Sittaford Mystery (reviewed yesterday) where it was necessary to look up the word.

In this first one I had a hunch they were talking about supplies for drinks but, in a mystery, I like to pay attention to all the details. The mystery is often solved in the details.

1. tantalus: On the sideboard was a tantalus, a soda water siphon, and two bottles of beer.

Tantalus is a stand in which decanters of liquor can be locked up though still visible.

Ah-ha, so somebody needs to have their liquor locked up!!

In this next one there is no clue whatsoever.

2. forrarder:

“Good morning, Inspector. Any forrarder?”

“Yes, sir. I think we are a little forrarder. I think I can safely say that.”

I looked in all my dictionaries for this one and found no definition. What was interesting was that I did get some examples of how the word was used in other (old) books. Based on the context of those examples, I feel safe is claiming that forrarder means closer.

My daughter Cerrin sent me a word she discovered in a book she is reading and I read a couple of years ago (Point Blank by Catherine Coulter).

3.  vitriol: Dix was the only one not appalled by this show of vitriol coming from the talented and sophisticated Dr. Holcombe’s very nicely sculpted mouth.

Vitriol is sulfuric acid or, using it figuratively, cruel and bitter criticism.

How has your reading week been going? Did you discover any new words? Don’t forget to visit Kathy’s blog for more great words.

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8 Responses to Wondrous Words #54

  1. BooksPlease says:

    Mine are from Agatha Christie too.

    You’re right aabout “forrader”. “Forrad is a Scots word for “forward”.

  2. I did a search because I wanted to know the plural of tantalus, and found a fascinating discussion on the origin of the word and why liquor cabinets had locks (it was to prevent the servants from getting to the contents, not the owners!). It’s a very interesting story, called “The Tantalus or The butler’s Enemy” and is at: http://www.piers-hart.co.uk/article_tantalus.html .

  3. cerrin says:

    I wanted to use vitrol in daily life…now I know what it means too lol thanks.

  4. Kathy says:

    I love it – you’re a word detective now! Those are all great words and Jill’s history of tantalus is fascinating. As always, thanks for participating, Margot!

  5. Staci says:

    I knew #3…I feel my brain growing today!! 😀

  6. Susan says:

    Margot, excellent words! I agree with you about the details being important. I knew vitriolic but not vitriol per se. I like how your words stand out due to the red color.

    Here’s mine: http://suko95.blogspot.com/2010/02/wondrous-words-wednesday.html

    If anyone can suggest a good subtitle for my words, I’d appreciate it.

  7. Your post and Detective Jill’s addendum are so interesting! I’ll remember ‘tantalus’ because the locked-up liquor will ‘tantalize’ me 🙂

    I wish I was better at noting new words when I read them …

  8. kaye says:

    interesting words.

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