Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Every Wednesday BermudaOnion hosts Wondrous Words Wednesday, and asks everyone to share "new to you" words you've found in the course of your weekly reading adventures. To take a look at more wondrous words, or to contribute some yourself, please visit Bermudaonion's Weblog.

This week, my words come from Brimstone, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

1. embonpoint - adjective: sufficiently fat so as to have a pleasing fullness of figure; "a chubby child"; "pleasingly plump"; from the French, around 1655-65, meaning "in good condition"
From the book: " 'All the color, noise, flash, the embonpoint diva prowling the stage, shrieking and howling and throwing herself from the ramparts of some castle – it distracts the mind from the music.' " [p. 103]
This is FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast explaining why he doesn't like opera. Funny because I always think the color, noise, flash and people throwing themselves off ramparts is the best thing about opera.

2. emphraxis - a medical term meaning: 1) A clogging or obstruction of the mouth of the sweat gland; 2) An impaction
From the book: " 'For now, I see a large individual approaching who appears to be suffering from emphraxis.' " [p. 10]

Pendergast again, referring to the approaching Lieutenant Braskie of the Southampton police, who is rather angry at the time; but I'm not sure exactly why he should look like he's suffering from emphraxis. Presumably, the sight of the Special Agent is causing the Lieutenant a certain amount of physical discomfort somewhere.


  1. Oh, I just LUV the Pendergast novels (haven't made it to "Brimstone" yet, tho - next up, "Still Life with Crows"); I'm reading Child currently, too, and two of my words are medical in nature as well - He must have left med school to become a writer! LoL...

    Hope you have a great day, and a wonderful weekend, ahead.

  2. Great words! I love embonpoint! Thanks for playing along.

  3. Your words make me think this is a fun book to read. Special Agent Pendergast sounds like an excellent character.

    *Margot @ Joyfully Retired

  4. I do believe that I'm an embonpoint diva!

  5. I may have to start reading these books, not having done any so far.

    I love embonpoint!

    And it's funny -- since I'm not wild about opera, I'd probably like all the things that distracted from the music. Heehee!

    Meanwhile, mine are here-- Phyl at Bookishgal

  6. Lol! Don't believe I have seen people throwing themselves off ramparts! Would that be derampartation?

  7. Since I speak French, I knew embonpoint, but emphraxis is definitely a new one!

  8. Re: emphraxis: Can refer to impacted stool. I think it's a more genteel way of saying the lieutenant looked constipated.


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