Any time I read a book by a British author, my dictionary gets a lot of use.
Sometimes I have to look up words I’ve looked up before and forgotten the meaning of, like vitrine and divagate.
vitrine: a glass display case
divagate: stray; digress
pilchard: small marine fish; a Pacific sardine
“I’ve seen a happier face on a pilchard.”
Then there are the new ones:
entresol: a low storey between the ground floor and the floor above; a mezzanine
costermonger: also coster; a person who sells fruit, vegetables, etc., in the street from a cart
boffin: a scientist or expert in a technical field, e.g. computers
“The boffins will win the war in other ways.”
And the ones I think I know but look up anyway:
priapic: phallic, phallocentric
priapism: persistent erection of the penis; lewdness, licentiousness
And that often leads me to learn other interesting things:
Priapus: Greek god of fertility whose cult spread to Turkey after Alexander’s conquests. He was adopted as a god of gardens, where his statue, a misshapen little man with enormous genitals, is a combined scarecrow and guardian deity.
Image: Ancient Origins
There are the ones that are familiar but not exactly so; they aren’t in my Oxford Canadian Dictionary, so I look online:
cumuliform: having the appearance or character of cumulus clouds
What appears to be a young merlin is perched in the maple tree, where the robins have their nest. They are making a hell of a fuss, and who can blame them.
The merlin nest is just a few trees over, in a tall spruce.