Word of the Week (WOW) – Mellifluous

wow

Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly meme created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week.

To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link as a comment on Heena’s WOW post for this week (above link). It’s a nice post to do and will give you some practice with a dictionary, of which there are several online. Illustrations are by no means necessary, but it’s up to you.

Next week, I’ll be looking for a word beginning with the letter n.

Here is my WOW for this week:

mellifluous

 Word:  mellifluous

Pronunciation:  mel·lif·lu·ous  [muhlif-loo-uh s]  (mə-lĭf′lo͞o-əs)

Part of Speech: Adjective

Adverb: mellifluously; Noun: melliflousness

 Meaning

1. (of sounds or utterances) having a smooth, flowing sound (e.g. a mellifluous voice)

Singing to the Reverend by Edmund Leighton. 1853-1922. Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain
Singing to the Reverend by Edmund Leighton. 1853-1922. Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

2.  sweetened with or as if with honey

Synonyms:

sweet, sweet-sounding, sweet-toned, dulcet, honeyed, mellow, soft, smooth, silvery, liquid, soothing, rich, euphonious, harmonious, tuneful, musical,  lyrical, lyric, melodic, melodious, mellifluent

Antonyms:

unlyrical, cacophanous

Word Origin:

C15: from Late Latin mellifluus flowing with honey, from Latin mel honey + fluere to flow

Use in a Sentence:

1. I eventually nodded off to sleep, lulled by the mellifluous tones of the nightingale.

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Nightingale (Luscina megarhynchos) in Berlin, Germany. Wikimedia Commons, Author: Nadingall, J Dietrich

2. Gerald was enraptured by the mellifluous sounds of the string instruments.

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Orchestra. Image courtesy of Pixabay

3. The little stream that flowed beneath the bridge made beautifully mellifluous gurgling sounds.

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Small Stream, Tregwynt, Wales. Wikimedia Commons. From geograph.org.uk

4. James struggled to tear his eyes from the mellifluous movement of the model’s hips.

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4. (Adverb) I am delighted to meet you, Miss Peacock,’ the bank manager intoned mellifluously.

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If you’d like to view more interesting word, the visit Heena’s page:

Word Treasure

Word of the Week (WOW) – Leviathan

wow

Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly challenge created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week.

To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link as a comment on Heena’s WOW post for this week (above link). It’s a nice post to do and will give you some practise with a dictionary, of which there are several online. Illustrations are by no means necessary, but it’s up to you.

I’m up to the letter L this week. I started off by just choosing a word at random (perspicacious). Since then, I’ve been working through the alphabet, so I’ll be looking for a good word beginning with M next week.

So, here is my WOW for this week:

leviathan

 Word: Leviathan

Pronunciation:  le·vi·a·than  [li-vahyuh-thuhn;  luh- veye -uh-thuhn]

Part of Speech:  noun

Adjective: leviathan – meaning very large; gargantuan

 Meaning:

1. (often initial capital letter: LeviathanBible. a sea monster.

The Destruction of Leviathan.
The Destruction of Leviathan. An engraving from 1865 by Gustave Doré
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Levianthan sea monster with Behemoth the land monster and Ziz the air monster. Public domain via Wikimedia.

2. any huge marine animal, as the whale.

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Blue whales grow up to 30 meters in length and weigh up to 190 tonnes/160tons. They are the largest existing animal and the heaviest that has ever lived. Blue whale. Image from Wikimedia Commons. Author: NOAA Photo Library.
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These giant manta rays can have a wingspan of uo to 7 meters. They swim in the strong currents, slowly flapping their wings with amazing elegance. Author> Arturu de Frias Marques at Raja Ampat, West Papu, Indonesia.

3. anything of immense size and power, as a huge, oceangoing ship.

4. initial capital letter, italics: Leviathan) a philosophical work (1651) by ThomasHobbes dealing with the political organisation of society.

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Frontpiece of “Levianthan by Thomas Hobbes” – author unknown. 1661

Synonyms:

behemoth, blockbuster, colossus, colossal, dinosaur, dreadnaught, jumbo, elephant, elephantine, Goliath, jumbo, giant, mammoth, mastodon, monster, monstrous, titan, whale, whopper, whopping, gargantuan, astronomical, immense, supersize

Antonyms: 

diminutive, dwarf, half-pint, midget, mite, peewee, pygmy/pigmy, runt, shrimp, infinitesimal, Lilliputian, micro, miniscule, tiny, teeny, microscopic

Word Origin:

1350-1400; Middle English levyathan < Late Latin leviathan < Hebrew: liwyāthān

Use in a Sentence:

1. It can be a great challenge to drive a wheeled leviathan in rush-hour traffic.

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2. The tree was a leviathan among redwoods.

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Giant redwood tree ‘Sherman’ in the Sequoia National Park, California, USA Source: de.wikipedia uploaded by de: Benutzer: Pc fish

3. The man in front of us was a leviathan! He took up several seats at the theatre.

4. (Adjective use) The Titanic was a leviathan ship by the standards of the time.

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If you’d like to see more interesting words, visit Heena’s page:

Word Treasure

Word of the Week (WOW) – Kapok

wow

Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly meme created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week.

To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link as a comment on Heena’s WOW post for this week (above link). It’s a nice post to do and will give you some practice with a dictionary, of which there are several online. Illustrations are by no means necessary, but it’s up to you.

Here is my WOW for this week:

kapok

 Word: Kapok

Pronunciation: ka·pok  [key-pok; keɪpɒk]

Part of Speech: Noun

 Meaning:

1.  The silky down inside the seed pods of a silk-cotton tree (kapok tree) Ceiba pentandra, of Indonesia, Africa and tropical America. It is used for stuffing pillows, life jackets etc. and for acoustical insulation. It is also called Java Cotton.

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Kapok tree pods, Madeira. Author: Veleta. Wikimedia Commons.
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Kapok seeds and silky fibre on Ceiba pentandra, Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Author: J.M. Garg

2. A massive tropical tree with deep ridges on its huge trunk and bearing large pods of seeds covered with silky floss – the source of the silky kapok fibre.

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Kapok tree in Foster Botanical Gardens, Honolulu, Hawaii. Wikimedia Commons. Author: J.M.Garg
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White-flowered Ceib pentandra showing spines on the buttressed trunk. Attribute: Atamari. Wikimedia Commons

Synonyms:

1. For the kapok fibre: plant fibre, cushioning, padding, Java Cotton

2. For the kapok tree:  Bombay ceiba, Ceiba pentandra, ceiba tree, God tree, silk-cotton tree, white silk-cotton tree

Antonyms:

None

Word Origin:

1740-50; < Javanese (or Malay of Java and Sumatra) kapuk or kapoq the name of the large tropical tree which produces the fibres.

Use in a Sentence:

1. They say that when the kapok tree blooms it is time to gather the crocodile eggs.

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Kapok flowers on Ceiba pentandra. Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Wikimedia Commons. Author: J.M. Garg

2. Viewing platforms have been constructed in the tall kapok trees to allow tourists to look out over the rainforest canopy.

3. Emergent trees like the kapok rise above the rainforest canopy and provide a home for plants dependent on sunlight.

4. Naturally silky and resilient, kapok is the traditional stuffing for sitting cushions, in addition to cushions used by people who meditate in the kneeling position.

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Colourful monk’s prayer or meditation cushions scattered in the courtyard of Wat Pho temple in Bangkok. Image from Shutterstock.

If you’d like to check out more interesting words then visit Heena’s page:

Word Treasure

Word of the Week (WOW) – Jardinere

wow

Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly challenge created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week.

To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link as a comment on Heena’s WOW post for this week (above link). It’s a nice post to do and will give you some practice with a dictionary, of which there are several online. Illustrations are by no means necessary, but it’s up to you.

Here is my WOW for this week:

jardiniere Word:  jardinière

Pronunciation:  jahr-dn-eer  [zhahr-dn-yair] [ʒɑːdɪˈnjɛə]

Part of Speech:

Noun

Meaning:

 1. a.  an ornamental stand for plants or flowers 

     b.  a large usually ceramic flowerpot holder

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2. a garnish of fresh vegetables, cooked, diced, and served around a dish of meat

[Click here for illustrations of jardinière of vegetables]

Synonyms: 

Plant pot, flower pot, plant holder, planter, pot

Antonyms:

None

Word Origin:  1835-45 < French, feminine of jardinièr gardener, equivalent to Old French jardin -garden + ier

Use in a sentence: 

1. On the low wall along the driveway to the Old Hall, stood a number of impressive jardinières.

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2. While we were at the garden centre, I bought an amusing watermelon jardinière.

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If you’d like to check out more interesting words then visit Heena’s page:

Word Treasure

Word of the Week (WOW) – Insular

wow

Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly meme created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week.

To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link as a comment on Heena’s WOW post for this week (above link). It’s a nice post to do and will give you some practice with a dictionary, of which there are several online. Illustrations are by no means necessary, but it’s up to you.

Here is my WOW for this week:

insular

 Word: Insular

Pronunciation: In-su-lar (in-suh-ler)

Part of Speech: Adjective

Noun: insularism; insularity

Adverb: insularity

 Meaning:

1. Of, relating to, or constituting an island

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2. Dwelling or situated on an island > insular residents

3. Characteristic of an island people, especially having a narrow provincial viewpoint

4. Isolated or separated

5. Illiberal or narrow minded

A_well-to-do_mother_resistant_to_her_daughter's_doctor_using_Wellcome_V0011390 (1)
A well-to-do mother, resistant to her daughter’s doctor using vaccine from their neighbour’s child. It illustrates the narrow-mindedness of the petty, provincial middle classes. Source: Wikimedia Commons: wellcomeimages.org

6. (Pathology) Occurring in or characterized by one or more isolated spots or patches

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Synonyms: 

illiberal, narrow, narrow-minded, parochial, petty, provincial, picayune, sectarian,  small, small-minded, prejudiced, blinkered

Antonyms:

broad-minded, cosmopolitan, liberal, open, open-minded, receptive, tolerant

Word Origin:  

17th Century from late Latin insulāris, from Latin insula, meaning island or isle

Use in a sentence: 

1. Their new neighbourhood was an insular community that was not receptive to new ideas, especially from outsiders.

2. Jane hated the insular world of her boarding school.

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Herlufsholm Boarding School, in Naestved, Denmark. Wikimedia Commons. Attribution: Martin Joergensen

3. As a government spy, Justin was insular by nature and interacted on a social level with very few people.

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4. For a best-selling author, he seemed much too insular the deal with the scrutiny given to people of renown.

 *

If you’d like to check out more interesting words then visit Heena’s page:

Word Treasure

Word of the Week (WOW) – Hirsute

wow

Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly meme created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week.

To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link as a comment on Heena’s WOW post for this week (above link). It’s a nice post to do and will give you some practice with a dictionary, of which there are several online. Illustrations are by no means necessary, but it’s up to you.

Here is my WOW for this week:

hirsute

 Word: Hirsute

Pronunciation: hir-sute (hur-soot)

Part of Speech: Adjective

Noun: Hirsuteness (hir-sute-ness)

 Meaning:

1. Hairy; shaggy : having a lot of body hair, especially on the face or body

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2. (Biology) Covered with coarse, stiff hairs (as a hirute leaf)

Heliotropium Indicum at Kadavoor © 2010 Jeevan Jose, Kerala, India. Creative Commons. A common weed in waste and settled areas. Native to Asia.

Synonyms: 

bristly, bushy, cottony, fleecy, furred, furry, hairy, rough, shaggy, unshorn, unshaven, woolly, bearded, bewhiskered

Antonyms:

bald, furless, glabrous, hairless, shorn, smooth

Word Origin:  

Early 17th Century from Latin hirsutus (shaggy). Akin to Latin horrére, meaning to bristle and hirtus, meaning hairy.

Use in a sentence: 

1. Many hirute males believe that chest hair makes them feel more manly.

2. Olaf was a large, hirsute Viking with an aggressive, blustery personality.

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3. (Noun) Hirsuteness in men is often seen as a sign of attractiveness.

4. I found a really hirsute caterpillar feeding on one of our growing cabbages this morning.

Hirsute_caterpiller_of_a_Javan_moth_-_indet._(5796469232)
Hirsute caterpillar of a Java moth. Attribution gbohne from Berlin, Germany.

I think this is a good word to use when describing hairy people, plants, insects and so on. It definitely adds a little something more to a sentence than merely saying ‘hairy’. It can be used to describe women too, of course, although, apart from ‘The Bearded Lady’* of Victorian fame it would not generally refer to facial hair. In women, the condition of excessive hair growth – usually dark and thick rather than fine and fair – is called HIRSUTISM.

* If anyone has never heard of this sad story, Ive added link to a Wiki page about one of these ladies HERE. (There are similar stories of other women who suffered this affliction.)

If you’d like to check out more interesting words then visit Heena’s page:

Word Treasure

Word of the Week (WOW) – Gregarious

wow

Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly meme created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week.

To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link as a comment on Heena’s WOW post for this week (above link). It’s a nice post to do and will give you some practice with a dictionary, of which there are several online. Illustrations are by no means necessary, but it’s up to you.

Here is my WOW for this week:

gregarious

Word: Gregarious

Part of Speech: Adjective:

Adverb: gregariously

Noun: gregariousness

 Pronunciation:  gre·gar·ous  (gri-gair-ee-uh s)  (ɡrɪˈɡɛərɪəs)

 Meaning:

1. Fond of the company of others; sociable

2. Living in flocks or herds, as animals.

Herd of cattle. Attribution: CSIRO
Herd of cattle. Attribution: CSIRO

3. In botany: growing in open clusters or colonies but not matted together.

Gregarious moss phlox in Takinoue Park, Hokkaido. Commons: attribution Dr. Terra Khan
Gregarious moss phlox in Takinoue Park, Hokkaido. Commons: attribution Dr. Terra Khan

4. Pertaining to a flock or crowd.

Synonyms: 

social, sociable, genial, outgoing, convivial, companionable, friendly, extroverted, clubby, clubable

Antonyms:

antisocial, insociable, unsociable, unsocial, nongregarious, reclusive, solitary

Word Origin:  

1660-70 < Latin gregārius belonging to a flock = equivalent to greg- (stem of grex) flock + -ārius -arious   

Use in a sentence: 

1. Jenny was a gregarious little girl who wanted to play with every child she met and be their friend.

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2. The main problem with Martin was that his gregarious confidence vanished in social situations.

3. Flamingos are gregarious birds that do not do well in small flocks.

American Flamingos. Commons: Attribution Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA.
American Flamingos. Commons: Attribution Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA.

4. Gregarious behaviour benefits birds because it provides protection in numbers, giving individuals a better chance of survival.

Evening_roost_over_woods_-_geograph.org.uk_-_289369
Evening roost over woods. Commons: attribution Rob Farrow
Stinkbug lava on grass
Stinkbug lava on grass

Gregarious is a useful word to use in writing, and can easily be applied to our characters, as sentences 1 and 2 above show. I first came across the word when I was about eleven, when a teacher was explaining its use by referring to the behaviour of sheep. Like all herd animals, they simply need to keep together for safety. Safety in numbers, as they say.

If you’d like to check out more interesting words then visit Heena’s page:

Word Treasure

Why Do Writers Write?

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This probably sounds like a silly question, considering we could ask the same thing of people in all walks of life. Naturally I have my own reasons for wanting to write and I’ve come across other writers’ answers during TV interviews and so on. So I’ve attempted a summary of responses. Perhaps you can recognise your own reasons in at least one of them.  You may have some I haven’t touched on. Anyway, here they are:

  1. To write has been a long-held ambition.

Often, when young people are faced with the question of why they want to pursue a particular career their immediate response is, ‘I’ve always wanted to . . .’ Many years ago, at my college interview, I was asked, ‘Why do you want to teach?’ At school we’d had it drummed into our heads that if the question arose on interview, we did not reply, ‘I’ve always wanted to.’ I suppose the message stuck. This kind of question definitely needs a carefully thought-out response, even though the instinctive reply of ‘always wanted to’ may be quite true.

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So, where did this life-long desire originate? Many fiction writers will tell you how their love of stories from an early age inspired them to write – first listening to them being read to them, then reading the words for themselves. As a child I loved tales of adventure, which inspired me to write my own little stories, both at home and at school.  With most people the love of story ‘type’ gradually becomes more selective and certain genres appeal more than others.

2.  You have a story simply bursting to be told

Sometimes, an author has a story whirling around inside his/her head, begging to be told. It may have been lurking there for years, or have recently arrived with a sudden POW! Perhaps it was created entirely by the author’s imagination, or is a well-known story imploring a different manner of telling. In my own case, this is certainly true.

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  1. You want to share your own particular area of expertise

For non-fiction authors, the desire to inform looms high – whatever the subject. Many of us have relied on a variety of reference books in our time, and I certainly value the research done by these authors.

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With fiction writers, the need, to inform is still there. But in this case, the background, factual detail is undoubtedly best fed into the story gradually and discreetly. If not, the book will sound like a text book and probably put readers off.

  1. A realisation that you can actually write hits you

Sometimes, the wanting to write only surfaces after a person has already pursued a career in another profession. Perhaps that person took no interest in reading until then, or maybe someone recommended a good book. Perhaps the chosen job didn’t satisfy a creative urge that has only now manifest itself, or the job itself involves writing documents, letters and so on that others frequently admire. Who knows? But tales of people who veered into writing from completely different careers are everywhere. Unusual careers themselves often make good reading matter, whether fiction or non-fiction.

  1. You can express your thoughts and ideas better in writing

The need to apologise is a good example here. The coward’s way out, you may say. Yet the example illustrates my point well. Thoughts, especially emotional ones, are so much easier to write than say. So are lies, I suppose.

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The spoken word involves interaction with people and their judgemental, discerning eyes. The computer page, or notepad, does not have eyes and a writer can pour his/her heart out. And writers may draw on personal experience of events too difficult to talk about, assigning them more easily to fictional characters.

  1. You write for the sheer love of words

Words are the writer’s tool, and it is how individual writers use them that can determine whether a book is fascinating or utterly dull. I’m not saying an entire book should be written in elaborately flowery language – that would be as bad as having no particularly descriptive passages.  Nor am I overlooking the need for a great plot and memorable characters. Words are to be tested and sounded out before used; something writers are usually good at. They play around with different possibilities or, perhaps, use them in similes and metaphors, creating images that come to life as we read . . .

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Ah well, I always did love to read.