Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wondrous Word Wednesday 1-16

Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by BermudaOnion each week. It's an opportunity to share new words you've encountered in your reading, or highlight words that you particularly enjoy.

Currently I am reading People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. I have encountered lots of unknown words. Some I can figure out , because of the way they are used in the sentence and in the context of the story.

These two were unknown and I couldn't decide what they might mean. So I had to look them up. I was reading in bed, I keep a small notebook and pen on the bedside table, so I just wrote them down and the page number they were on. Then I took the time to look them up the next day.



1. a. of, like, or characteristic of an ointment or unguent; oily or greasy

b. made up of or containing fat or oil

2. like oil, soap, or grease to the touch: said of certain minerals

3. soft and rich: said of soil

4. plastic; moldable

5. characterized by a smug, smooth pretense of spiritual feeling, fervor, or earnestness, as in seeking to persuade; too suave or oily in speech or manner

In the book, page 84 the sentence reads: “Josip had risen as an administrator because of a charming manner that sometimes bordered on unctuousness.”

So , the #5 definition applies here.


plural noun sing. incunabulum
1. the very first stages of anything; infancy; beginnings

2. early printed books; esp., books printed before 1500

The first two sentences on page 85 : When they arrived at the library Faber nodded curtly and spoke for the first time. “Let me see your Jewish manuscripts and incunabula.”

When I see the #2 definition, it now makes more sense. Both definitions come from my online dictionary, Webster’s New World Dictionary.
This is a good story, and refers to some of the same time as other historical fiction I have been reading lately. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett and Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay.

Until next time,
Stay Busy and Stay Happy


  1. I've seen unctuousness before but have never used it because I'm not sure how to pronounce it. It sure does have a lot of different meanings!

  2. I wouldn't know how to pronounce these words, new for me.

  3. Unctuousness I know - not that I use it - but incunabula is completely new to me. I like the idea of expressing the infancy of something but I find the word even more unpronouncable than unctuousness. LOL!

  4. I found incunabula very interesting. It was completely new to me.

  5. I knew the first word, but not the second. Both are excellent words to know! I like how you provided in-depth definitions for both words.

  6. I use unctuous sometimes- it's a fabulous word, it sounds how it means.