Wondrous Words Wednesday – June 3, 2009

wondrouswordswednesday Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy at Bermudaonion. The idea is for bloggers to post about the unfamiliar words they have encountered in their reading the past week. Click over to read other book bloggers’ Wondrous Words, and leave a link to your post of some Wondrous Words of your own.

Today’s words are all from the British novel Crossed Wires, by Rosy Thornton.

chary: cautious

This is a complicated question, the young author opened charily, because the concept of ‘home’ is somewhat fluid.

spliff: joint; marijuana

‘…Only good for tablecloths and oil painting, in my opinion, and, well, you know, spliffs.’

toad in the hole: a traditional English dish comprising sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter, usually served with vegetables and onion gravy.

For a start, Sal was at Mum’s again and had been promised toad in the hole for tea; it was also the day they changed their library books at school, so she would frankly hardly notice whether her mother appeared or not much before six o’clock.

gennel: a covered alleyway connecting two terrace houses

Where they left the pavements for a short way to cut up the gennel beside the newsagent’s and then past the swings on the triangle of untidy grass (you really couldn’t call it a park) at the back of their own street, the chemical glow from the streetlights thinned sufficiently to allow an impression of stars.

giro: 1: a system used between European banks and similar organizations, in which money can be moved from one account to another by a central computer; 2: a cheque which provides money from the government, through the giro, to someone unemployed, ill, or with very little income.

‘No, she gets her giro, so she ought to be able to make do all right.’

stroppy: touchy, belligerent

‘I mean, it’s a lot to take on, a stroppy teenage sister, and with a daughter of your own as well.’

maisonette: small house

She meant the empty maisonettes.

prang: to have an accident with; to cause to crash

‘But, yes, I’m afraid I’ve pranged your car.’

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15 Responses to Wondrous Words Wednesday – June 3, 2009

  1. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    This is great! It will certainly help when I go to read this book!

  2. Nymeth says:

    I learned what a “toad in the hole” was when I was in England. Such a funny name! The others are all new to me too.

  3. Kathy says:

    Those are all new words to me, although I would have been able to figure maisonette out since it’s so close to the French word maison. I love reading words like this in British books and wish I could remember the words long enough to sprinkle them into my conversations. Thanks for participating today!

  4. Margot says:

    Lots of fun words in this book. I make Toad in the Hole in a different way. It’s an egg fried inside a hole in a piece of bread. Must be the American version.

  5. Deanna says:

    I liked:

    Spliff – interesting word for joint. :)
    stroppy – I have a stroppy almost 14yod. like this word. See myself using it frequently.
    maisonette – great word. plays up the whole small house thing.

    Great words! Love them

  6. CarrieK
    Twitter: booksandmovies
    says:

    Sandy – I loved the “British-ness” of this book. :)

    Nymeth – as long as it doesn’t include actual toad, I’m willing to give it a try!

    Kathy – yes, I knew maison was house in french, too – but thought maybe it had a deeper meaning than simply little house. Nope – that’s exactly what it means. So we live in a maisonette!

    Margot – Interesting! I’ve never heard of that toad in a hole either. :)

    Deanna – I know – my daughter is 12 and she can be quite stroppy at times, too.

  7. ALL were new to me. I can almost hear the British accent though. :-)

  8. I mentioned a couple of these words last week because I was reading the same book! I think chary has a negative connotation too; it’s not just cautious but also wary. Oh and I had no idea what toad in the hole was but skipped right over it somehow. We make the Montreal version of the American version of this dish: “egg iin the hole,” which is an egg fried in the middle of a toasted bagel!

  9. Rosy T says:

    Hi Carrie – so glad you enjoyed the book. The words you picked out here made me laugh – I appear to have conveyed an image of life in the UK which consists of picking up one’s dole cheque and then sitting around smoking soft drugs and eating batter puddings!

    The thing about a maisonette (if anyone is remotely interested, which I doubt) is that it’s in a block – so it’s essentially like a flat (‘apartment’ as you would say over there!) but on two levels.

  10. Word Lily
    Twitter: Wordlily
    says:

    Great words this week!

  11. CarrieK
    Twitter: booksandmovies
    says:

    Lisa – I definitely heard a Brit accent in my head as I read. In fact there was some mention about the Sheffield accent (that’s where one of the characters, Mina, is from) and I wish I could hear how that was different from the other character’s Cambridge accent.

    Avis – all these variations on toad in the hole! I need to get ahold of a recipe for Yorkshire pudding so I can give it a try.

    Rosy – That’s funny – but the words I didn’t “get” do kind of imply that, don’t they? :) And good info about the maisonette – I guess I don’t live in one after all. Just a small house. Too bad – maisonette sounds so much more elegant!

    Lily – thanks. :)

  12. Ladybug says:

    I know giro, because we use that word in Norwegian and I have also heard the word spliff being used in movies.

  13. Bookmuncher says:

    Carrie- have you seen “the full Monty”? That’s good Sheffield… I can’t think of a British movie featuring a Cambridge accent though. In fairness, being an academic, he would probably have moved to Cambridge for the job. I can’t remember that his accent/origin is mentioned – is it?

  14. CarrieK
    Twitter: booksandmovies
    says:

    Ladybug – that’s funny, I’ve probably heard spliff, too, just didn’t remember it.

    Bookmuncher – no, I’ve never seen The Full Monty – I’ll have to check it out.

  15. I second the recommendation of The Full Monty — it’s a great movie. I’d forgotten that it was set in Sheffield!