Friday, 11 September 2009

An Amazing Abecedenarian Alphabet - A's Part 2

The second part of my interesting A's is now here. And Chambers Online (who have an excellent wordy blog at ) and I are having nice conversations on Twitter, where they are following me, which is flattering. I hope you enjoy these delightful A's. There will be more eccentric offerings to come soon.

alcatras(n); name for large water birds including pelican, gannet, albatross, frigate-bird [Sp. Alcatraz]. So Alcatraz really translates as Pelican Prison?

alexia (n); loss of power to read. Not something I want to encounter - ever. Writer's/book lover's worst nightmare.

alforja (n):saddle-bag, baboon's cheek pouch [Sp]. Interesting lexical leap from one to the other. Now how shall I use it in current book?

allenarly (adv); solely, only (obsolete except in Scots law). But I want to revive it. "I allenarly had a wee glass, orfisher, honest. Hic!"

alnage (n); measurement by the ell: inspection of cloth [O.Fr aulne, ell]. A most English word. Should like to announce 'I am an aulnager,' and see what happens.

altrices (; birds whose young are hatched very immature & have to be fed in nest by parents. Won't be using in a picture book text, though! Don’t think ‘The altrices were being fed worms by the mummy bird’ would pass the editorial red pen.

alure n.(obs); a walk behind battlements.'Guinevere’s allure was obvious to Lancelot as he gazed down at her from Camelot's alure,' perhaps.

alveary n.; either an early dictionary of English, French, Greek & Latin, or a beehive. Take your pick. Prefer the ‘dictionary’ meaning myself—but then I am a confirmed lexiphile.

alvine adj.; of the belly. Has possilities...I ate too much, have been a swine and now I have a pain alvine. It’s hard to be poetic in tweets.

arnica n.; useful homeopathic remedy for bruising/shock Arnica Montana 200c Take every 15 mins (I put this in when I fell down the stairs—I know it’s out of alphabetical order).

amadou n,; tinder made from tree-growing fungi, also used as styptic. Useful to know next time you are in a forest & need to stop bleeding. Very Ray Mears sort of information.

ambages;windings, roundabout ways, delays. My writing is full of ambages--and they usually take me to interesting intellectual places.

ambivert n.; one neither introvert nor extrovert. Indicates a serial fence-sitter, wine-in-the middle-of-the-glass type person to me. Agree?

ames-ace ns.; lowest possible dice throw of double one, ill-luck, worthlessness. Now I understand all those refs in Georgette Heyer novels to this word.

amentum n.; catkin. But I shan't be raving on about the beauty of the pollen-dusted amentums next spring. Will stick to catkin, if you please.

amissible adj; liable to be lost. This applies to almost anything Daughter owns. Or Son, come to that. We are a family full of amissibility.

ammophilous adj; sand-loving. I am decidedly NOT ammophilous, hating the very thought of sand in summer sandwiches or anywhere. Blearghhh!

amort adj; spiritless, dejected. Much how I feel about going on a school supplies shopping trip to Milton Keynes, the Great Wen of Buckinghamshire.

amphigory n; nonsense-verse. My Twittered witter is internet litter, but don't think I'm bitter-I ain't no Ruth Pitter (a poet much fitter).

analects; collected literary fragments. What I have in my 'bottom drawer' of assorted book ideas, just-started novels, and related items.

analphabetic adj; ignorant of the alphabet, illiterate. I trust this does not describe me, as I am Alphabet Dictionary woman extraordinaire.

anamnesis n; the recalling to memory of things past. Very Proustian. A la recherche du temps perdu. Something I find hard to do short term, which is a little worrying at my age.

ancon, n; a breed of sheep with very short legs. Apparently. According to Chambers 20th Century. But do I believe them? (Of course I do! They are founts of ineffable arcane knowledge on all things ovine. Or so they tell me.)

anfractuous adj; winding, involved, circuitous. Like a shaggy dog story. Or the convoluted periods of, say, Dr Samuel Johnson.

angekkok n; Inuit sorcerer or shaman. Perfect and sumptuous word for a fantasy author—I shall use it at the first opportunity. (Chambers 20th Century Dictionary says 'Eskimo' but I prefer Inuit myself. They need to amend this—actually they probably have. After all, I am working from the last millenium’s version).

annicut n; dam (from the Tamil). Now I need to know how this became so much a part of Eng Lang that it got into the dictionary. How shall I find this out?

anoesis n; sensation or emotion not accompanied by understanding of it. Never quite get the ins and outs of pins-and-needles sensation myself.

anonyma (obs) n; showy woman of easy morals. Almost anyone in Heat mag, then? Great word—let’s bring it back at once. I want to see it in a newspaper article about, say, a Manhattan socialite madam.

ansate adj; having a handle. This morning's tea mug is ansate. Hmmn. Not sure it quite works, used like that.

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