Wondrous Words Wednesday

words3 I found a few new words this week, at least words that were new to me.

chinoiserie-a style of ornamentation current chiefly in the 18th century in Europe, characterized by intricate patterns and an extensive use of motifs identified as Chinese; an object decorated in this style or an example of this style.

And there’s the chinoiserie, a lot of it, stolen probably when my grandfather’s forbears turned to privateering.  (The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry)

punctilio– a fine point, particular, or detail, as of conduct, ceremony, or procedure; strictness or exactness in the observance of formalities or amenities.

This is not an event to be set to one side in the interest of doctrinal punctilio. (“The Crucifix” by Thomas Howard in Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter)

There were a couple of Greek words in The Turnaround by George Pelecanos that I wasn’t familiar with. 

malaka–  a slang word, whose literal translation is “wanker” but the usage of the term varies widely from the equivalent British English term. A more appropriate rendering covers a much broader spectrum of applications, including English equivalents of jerk (according to Wikipedia)

Like any father who wasn’t a malaka, he wanted his sons to do better than he had done.

The other word is mavres, which I couldn’t find a definition for.

not those fast-talkers on the rock-and-roll stations or the mavres on WOL or WOOK.

To join in the fun, head over to Bermudaonion’s Weblog.

8 Comments

  1. Those are all words I’ve never seen before! How frustrating to find a word there’s no available definition for- I almost ran into that with “sooguns” but when the online dictionaries failed me, found it explained in a forum of cowboys!

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