Sunday, 1 October 2017

A fantastic vocabulary!

Having learned two new words from my most recent fantasy read (The Court of Broken Knives), loggia and caravanserai, I asked around to see what words other fantasy readers had learned from their most recent books.

This resulted in a surprisingly big and quite obscure list, which I have compiled into a list.

The question here is not, "have you seen this word before?" or "do you have a vague feeling you know what this means?" but "can you define this word for someone else?".

I've found this latter hurdle quite a high one. There are words on the list that I would happily read past thinking that I have the gist. But when it comes to speaking out loud what those words mean ... I stumble.

Anyway, have a go. Vote for the ones you can define. And when we have some data I'll arrange them in order of obscurity!

Check out the list in order of difficulty at the end of the post.

And here, with 57 votes in, are the words listed in order from best known (sycophant) to least known (stoicheiotical).

It should be noted that although 32 of 57 of those responding claimed to be able to define sanguination it is a task that Google and the dictionaries have trouble with. The word sanguine definitely exists (a flavour of optimistic), and the word exsanguination does too (draining blood), but sanguination? This perhaps can be considered an indication that in some of these votes we may be giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt, and be being wrong to do so...

Sycophant (49)
Portcullis (47)
Troglodyte (43)
Schadenfreude (41)
Epoch (41)
Pyrrhic (40)
Sapper (40)
Loquacious (40)
Oubliette (39)
Niggardly (39)
Apocryphal (38)
Dolorous (36)
Antecedent (34)
Pederast (34)
Brocade (34)
Widdershins (34)
Thaumaturgy (33)
Sanguination (32)
Intransigent (32)
Licentious (31)
Interregnum (29)
Denuded (28)
Susurration (28)
Maladroit (28)
Caravanserai (28)
Puissance (27)
Mellifluous (27)
Febrile (25)
Insouciant (25)
Inimical (24)
Venal (23)
Hierophant (23)
Milliner (21)
Mendacious (20)
Trenchant (20)
Coruscate (19)
Abnegation (17)
Orrery (17)
Limned (16)
Concatenation (16)
Exigency (16)
Nictitating (15)
Internecine (15)
Chiaroscuro (11)
Loggia (11)
Machicolations (9)
Vespertine (8)
Spavined (8)
Recrudescent (5)
Uxorious (5)
Orogeny (5)
Marmoreal (4)
Exsiccate (3)
Roynish (2)
Stoicheiotical (0)

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  1. Where did my comment go? Well, let's do it again, then: I'll help with Carawanserai, Loggia, Brocade, insouciant, Schadenfreude, Thaumaturgy and found one more ... Interregnum :)

  2. Inimical, oubliette, pyrrhic, celerity, insouciant, sycophant, maladroit, abnegation, troglodyte, venal, asperity. French native speaker, with latin and greek as high-school options, kinda helps for many a word... ��

  3. It helps when your mother tongue is a latin language :D
    Many of those words are easily linked to normal/everyday words in portuguese, french, italian or spanish

  4. Next level of the quiz: Give your definition and let everybody else decide if it is correct.