Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wondrous Words Wednesday 7-10

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.

Here are three of my favorites new-to-me words from my recent read. 

This week I am reading Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Though so far in my reading I have not come across any new words, in the 38 page introduction written by Robert DeMott  there were many. 

jeremiad - noun     a literary work or speech  expressing a bitter lament or righteous prophecy of doom.
              from American Heritage Dictionary 4

"-The Grapes of Wrath has a home[grown quality: part naturalistic epic, part jeremiad, part captivity narrative, part road novel, part transcendental gospel."

contrapuntal - adj     1. of or characterized by counterpoint.    2. according to the principals of counterpoint

                       from Webster's New World College Dictionary

In The Grapes of Wrath he devised a contrapuntal structure, which alternates short lyrical chapters of exposition and background pertinent to the migrants as a group with the long narrative chapters of the Joad family's dramatic exodus to California. 

despotism - noun     1. rule by or as if by a despot; absolute power or authority   2. the actions of a despot: tyranny   3.a government or political system in which the ruler exercises absolute power.

     from American Heritage Dictionary 4

a quote from Steinbeck in a 1937 statement for the League of American Writers. "I believe in the despotism of human life and happiness against the liberty of money and possessions"

I think in this quote, Steinbeck was using the first definition... the power of human life and happiness over money and possessions

I enjoyed the introduction to this edition. It really gave me a background of Steinbeck and his writings. Since I had not read it in school and did not have the opportunity to learn these details, I am glad I took the time to read the lengthy  introduction. 

How about you?  Did you encounter any new or wondrous words?

Stay Busy and Stay Happy


  1. I could figure out despotism because I knew what a despot is but the rest of the words are new to me. Steinbeck sure used some great words!

  2. Only knew despotism, good words.

  3. I like the second word. Don't think I've ever seen it.

  4. I'm almost done reading Grapes of Wrath. My book club chose it for this month's selection. One of my favorite parts of the book is the contrapuntal sections. They make a beautiful contrast to the story itself and truly enrich the story. Thanks for the new word.