Vocabulary

More notebook archaeology today.

When I was in high school I was introduced to the work of Douglas Adams and became an instant fan. One of the things I loved about Douglas’s work was that it challenged me. His similes were masterful, and he always chose the right word. Being a kid still, I didn’t know a lot of those words, so I read him with a notebook and a dictionary beside me so that I could learn them. Because it was all even funnier when I understood.

I hadn’t had to do that in a long time, until I read China Mieville’s The Scar in 2005. I hadn’t read Perdido Street Station, and didn’t even realize that The Scar was a sequel. I loved it with many-tentacled hearts, but damn did he give my vocabulary a run for my money.

While digging through notebooks, I found my vocabulary list from that reading. Some of these are pretty pedestrian–you can probably tell I never took the SAT. Some of them he seems to have made up, or at least I couldn’t find a definition for them. Enjoy!

Ossify
Bowsprit
Costermonger
Klaxon
Corbita
Integument
Barquentine
Brachiate
Entresol
Stevedore
Rivebow
Attenuate
Murrain
Venal
Parochial
Trifurcated
Nauscopist
Taffrail
Thaumaturgy
Puissant
Balustrade
Insuperable
Hyperbole
Inculcated
Tabes
Pusillanimous
Susurrous
Sweven
Sylvatic
Cyncope
Recreant
Nacre
Sycophant
Palimpsest
Hyperborean
Talus
Valedictory
Scree
Chitin
Etiolated
Sough
Bathetic
Aegis
Plinth
Funicular

4 thoughts on “Vocabulary

  1. Jeff Petersen

    I love that Meiville can use all that vocabulary without it sounding forced or unnecessary. I always want to toss some more fancy words into my work, because I love fancy words, but it’s sometimes tricky to do right.

  2. Pingback: Links and Things for May 11, 2012 | The Digital Inkwell

  3. That’s what I love about reading science fiction and fantasy: the authors use such great words. I particularly like the word “chitin” — the first time I came across it was in C.J. Cherryh’s SERPENTER’S REACH.

Comments are closed.