Word Lore, Bird War

DSCF9178 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.


2 thoughts on “Word Lore, Bird War

  1. I enjoy looking at clouds. Lovely photo.
    We were watching a couple of British shows on Netflix awhile back, I started a list of words to look up.


  2. Mary,
    Those Brits have got the vocabulary! Heh. They use a lot of different words for things, too.
    Canadian author Alan Bradley sets his Flavia De Luce mysteries in England and he uses a lot of British terms for things.
    I love my dictionary.


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