Wondrous Words #191

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a fun meme I love to play each week. It keeps me looking for new words wherever I’m reading.

I’ve been reading If You Lived Here I’d Know Your Name by Heather Linde. It a great story about Heather’s life in Haines, Alaska. Here are some words I discovered:

1.  moiety: “Tlingit names areare based on the moiety, or reciprocal group, to which they belong.

I found the word (and the sentence) to be a little confusing. There are a couple of ways to look at the definition. Moiety could mean each of two parts into which a thing is or can be divided. In this case I believe moiety refers to the meaning in anthropology: each of two social or ritual groups into which a people is divided.

2.  potlatches: “When a Raven dies, it is the Eagles who plan the funeral. Eagles sing songs to Ravens at potlatches.

Among North American Indian peoples of the northwest coast, a polatch is an opulent ceremonial feast at which possessions are given away or destroyed to display wealth or enhance prestige.

3.  gillnetter: My oldesr daughters, Elia and Sarah, are working as deckhanfds on a gillnetter, fishing mainly for chum salmon eggs, or roe, which will be sold to a caviar company.

I figured a gillnetter was some kind of boat, but I’d never heard of it. The boat is named for the kind of net that is used on the boat. A gill-net is a net that is hung vertically so that fish get trapped in it by their gills.

Wondrous Word Wednesday is sponsored by Kathy @ Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

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7 Responses to Wondrous Words #191

  1. Kelly says:

    Great words this week! Moiety definitely flashed me back to my college anthropology class. 🙂

  2. I’m still not sure I understand moiety. Gillnetter is great because it sounds like exactly what it is!

  3. Hey there… I found you through WWW 🙂 Moiety is very tricky and it doesn’t seem like the sentence from the book even begins to explain what it is! Gillnetter is fun… the sound of it makes me laugh!

  4. I loved this book! I had Heather Linde’s blog on my list for a while but lost track of it. I read a second book by her too…I’m off to google to see if there are more. And as happens so often when you do words from a book I’ve read, I’m ashamed of myself for just skipping over a word I don’t know. (In this case I knew gillnetter and potlatch (there’s a town named that on the Nez Perce Reservation near where we grew up on the Idaho border). But moiety I had absolutely NO idea about. (Turning red with shame ;>)

  5. Louise says:

    I know the chemical meaning of moiety, but wasn’t aware of the other one. The other two words were new for me too.

  6. Staci says:

    I know what a potlatch is for sure…after correcting 5th grade social studies papers for a few years this one was easy. I also knew moiety, but #3 was a new one for me!

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