Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Chopping Chiffarobes

A kind co-worker loaned me a book on CD after we discussed how much time I spend in my car each week driving to and fro. It was "To Kill A Mockingbird" to be exact. I am slightly ashamed to admit that I had not yet read it, but I knew of the main story points. This week of commuting has not been a chore as it sometimes is. I need to get back to listening to sermon tapes, which used to be my constant car companion, and mix them up with novels every once in a while. It was sad to see that I had placed CD number 10 in the player this morning and had only one CD remaining in the box, so the story will soon come to a close.

Of course, as usual, I have been keeping a mental list of the words I've needed to look up once I arrive at home or work. And, as usual, there are many more on my list than I would like. My vocabulary is tiny (so please don't make too much fun of me!) I guess that's why I'm so interested in learning new words or looking up words to confirm I'm using or interpreting them correctly. Here are some I looked up this past week.

beadle (n.): a minor city official, lower in rank than either a sheriff or a policeman, whose main duties revolve around preserving order at various civil functions such as trials and town hall meetings.

calomel (n.): a laxative; often used as a cure for intestinal worms

changelings (n.): a child secretly put in the place of another

charlotte (n.): a desert made with fruit in a mold that is lined with pieces of bread or cake.

chiffarobe (n.): a large cabinet with drawers and a place for hanging clothes

fractious (adj.): mean or cross

Franklin stove (n.): a cast iron heating stove, invented by Benjamin Franklin.

impudent (adj.): To be impudent is to be shamelessly bold, as if you don't care what anyone thinks about you.

invective (n.): Invectives are abusive terms, curses, insults, and/or cuss words

obstreperous (adj.): noisy and unruly

palliation (n.): act of lessening the pain or fear and anxiety of something without actually making the fear and anxiety go away.

(n.): a bitter verbal attack

scuppernongs (n.): a sweet table grape, grown chiefly in the Southern United States.

smilax (n.): a bright green twinning vine, often used for holiday decorations.

taciturn (adj.): almost always silent.

unsullied (adj.): something that has been basically untouched or unused.


Dani said...

I don't think you should be ashamed about your vocabulary, several of those words you listed, you wouldn't know outside of the South... Franklin stove, chiffarobe, beadle, calomel just to point out a few. Others like scuppernongs and smilax all grew in my backyard growing up. Taciturn and unsullied are phrase that my great-grandmother commonly used instead of just saying that someone was sullen or silent, or that a particular pan was one she rarely used.

To Kill A Mockingbird is loosely based on an event that happened in the 30s in Scotborrough, Alabama, so many of the terms she uses are local phrases, and Southern word choices. If I were to read a novel that happened in the midwest, I wouldn't get alot of the terms while you would.

Elizabeth said...

Isn't it interesting that Boo Radley's family are foot-washing baptists? (I think I'm due to read that book again!)

The words are interesting. I grew up here and a lot of them are unfamiliar, granted I'm not as Southern as some.

My aunt was discussing scupppernongs with Karla before they moved to MD, and Karla thought my aunt made the word up, she said, "that's silly."

Is a scuppernong closer kin to a muskadine or a regular grape?

Dani said...

They are kinda like muskadines; and they grow wild. I personally don't like the taste of them, because they're pretty bitter.

strem said...

I would like to try both when I come down your way, so I'll have to make sure I come in the right season.

Elizabeth, I DO love it that there were a few references to those "foot washing Baptists" in the book. The discussions about them (us) made me laugh out loud.

Emily said...

On the muscadine discussion:

Actually, muscadine is a particular species of grape. In the species, there are many cultivars. Scuppernong is a cultivar of muscadines that has a bronze color. Frequently though, "muscadine" gets used to describe all of the black skinned muscadines and "scuppernong" gets used to describe all the bronze skinned ones. You can go here for more info:

Sorry, I'm a hoticulture nerd and thought I'd help clear up the confusion that often surrounds our beloved muscadines!

But whatever you call them, they make the world's best jelly (and wine!)

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the clarification Emily! You're right about the muscadines, they do make the best jelly.