e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

Archive for the tag “rare words”

Another new-to-me word – enisled

I was reading The Librarian by Salley Vickers when I came across the above word. New-to-me-words tend to jump off the page at me, waving their letters and demanding I look them up in dictionaries, thesauruses and/or websites.

Although I could guess the meaning, I followed the demand and found out, as expected, that the literal meaning is ‘to put on an island’ and the metaphorical is ‘to isolate’. I think it’s definitely more attractive than common or garden ‘isolated’.

Pronunciation was much more interesting; all possibles could be found somewhere on the web. I guess that either:

there are really many ways of saying the word

different dialects pronounce it differently (very differently)

the word occurs in other languages

a lot of people pronounce it wrong.

The one I prefer is to say ‘isle’ in the usual way and add the ‘en’ to it, keeping the stress on the long i.

You’ll have to read the book to see the context the author uses it. I can recommend it as an easy, pleasant read with an unusual ending.

Weird words

Browsing around today I came across this BuzzFeed quiz. It is twenty multiple choice questions on the meanings of rare English words. As a lover of odd words, I did it and didn’t do too badly – but I have to admit that some of the ones I got right were more lucky guesses than knowledge.

I was thrilled to discover that there’s a special word for a fear of buttons. On the medical side I’ve also learned that some people fear buttons, which must make shopping for clothes really difficult. I sometimes wonder if the source of such fears could be a forgotten (by your conscious mind) nightmare, which nevertheless lurks in the subconscious waiting to make trouble.

I recently bought a cardigan with a long row of tiny buttons and even smaller holes; now what I need is a word for losing my temper with buttons.

I’m always on the lookout for words I can use poetically, but I don’t see myself writing about borborygmus or pilgarlic.

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