Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wondrous Words Wednesday 11-3

Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion's Weblog. It's a place to highlight words you come across while reading or listening. Write a post about words you like and link up at Kathy's blog.

My words this week, come from reading The Round House by Louise Erdrich.

1. catalpa- noun : any of a genus (Catalpa) of North American or Asian trees of the bignonia family with pale showy flowers in terminal clusters.

There were ash shoots, elm, maple, box elder, even a good-sized catalpa, which my father placed in an ice cream bucket and watered, thinking that he might find a place to replant it.

I know of course, ash, elm, maple, and box elder. I grew up in South Dakota, not that different from the setting of this book, in NE North Dakota. But I had never heard of catalpa. So I searched. I found lot of pictures and lots of information. Here is one picture I found

from the Arbor Day Foundation website. 

2. hummock-noun: a small hill
       a) a rounded knoll or hillock
       b) ridge of ice

Describing the subsidized housing on the reservation:  "They were surrounded by hummocks of weedy earth, no trees or bushes."

3. riffle - noun : a shallow extending across a streambed and causing broken water.

"...I would walk down the hill with the rifle and hide behind a riffle of chokecherry bush and box elder.
I don't think this word fits the definition, but I like it anyway. As a verb riffle means to leaf through hastily . You could definitely riffle through a group of chokecherry bushes.

Have you every heard riffle used in this way?  What wondrous words or unusual use of words did you find this week.

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy


  1. I thought riffle was a sound something makes. I knew hummock but catalpa is new to me - that tree you pictured is gorgeous!

    1. I was confuse by riffle too. But I like the sound of a riffle of bushes.

  2. The picture of the catalpa tree is beautiful. That's new to me too even though I spent most of my life in the midwest (Wisconsin, Kansas). The other two words are new too. I hope you enjoyed the Louise Erdrich book.

    1. I enjoyed the book a great deal. Now I am ready to read more of her writing. Have you read The Round House?

  3. I've never seen a catalpa tree, but I agree with Margot - it looks beautiful. Glad you included the picture. I'm with Kathy on riffle.
    My word this week = peripatetic. Know what it means? ;)

  4. The dictionary gave such varied definitions of riffle. And I have heard of peripatetic. I had forgotten the meaning. Looked it up: nomadic.

  5. The tree trunk is really pretty. Would like to see one. I've never seen one of these trees either.