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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

Wondrous Words Wednesday .. 19/10/2011


‘Wondrous Words Wednesday’ is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we have encountered in our reading.

It is hosted by Kathy, over at BermudaOnion’s Weblog. You can either stop by and leave a link to your own ‘mystery’ words of the week, or just browse the eclectic mix of words that others have discovered, there is always a great selection.

Don’t forget that Kathy and the rest of us, all love to read your comments  as well!!


Such is the depth and richness of the text, highlighting the diversity and intensity of the English language, that I have had to look no further than the seventeen pages of the first chapter for my words this week.

There were several additional words that I could make a reasonable stab at working out the meaning of, but the four selected words below definitely needed looking up for me to get them into the correct context.


My chosen book this week is:‘The Children Of Men’ by P.D. James

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1. ACCIDIE – “.. But I shall continue, one small additional defence against personal accidie..”

Accidie – (also accidie or accedie, from Latin acedĭa, and this from Greek ἀκηδία, negligence) describes a state of listlessness or torpor, of not caring or not being concerned with one’s position or condition in the world. It can lead to a state of being unable to perform one’s duties in life. Its spiritual overtones make it related to but distinct from depression. Acedia was originally noted as a problem among monks and other ascetics who maintained a solitary life


2. APOSTASY – “..but in the knowledge that despite our apostasy, this deity, our creature and our slave, would still provide for us ..”

Apostasy – Abandonment of one’s religious faith, a political party, one’s principles, or a cause.


3. EFFULGENCE ” I can still find pleasure, more intellectual than sensual, in the effulgence of an Oxford spring ..”

Effulgence – A brilliant radiance.


4. SUZERAINTY “The four males stood behind them, legs firmly apart, arms folded, gazing not at them but over their heads, seeming to assert an arrogant suzerainty over the whole quad.”

Suzerainty –The power or domain of a suzerain.

Suzerain –1. A nation that controls another nation in international affairs but allows it domestic sovereignty.

                       2. A feudal lord to whom fealty was due.
I think it could be quite difficult just to casually drop any of those words into a conversation, I am guessing that ‘Effulgence’, or possibly ‘Accidie’ might be possible!

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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • I haven’t read any of James’ books in years, but always found them intelligently written and good for a few new words. The only one I knew was apostasy. Suzerain is certainly an interesting word – I’m trying to think of a country that is one. Thanks for playing along.

    • Hi Kathy,

      I can think of a few countries who would like to think of themselves as a ‘Suzerain’!!

      In fact, the further on into the book I read, the more I am convinced that this is a work of fiction, written before its time and with great foresight, and that the way we are heading both as individual countries and the world as a whole, may not be too far from the truth in not too many years to come.

      I enjoyed several P.D. James books, when her character of Inspector Adam Dalgliesh was featured, however this is the first of her stand alone stories that I have tried and I am loving it so far, some great writing and excellent use of the English language.

    • Hi Julie,

      It is certainly an interesting word, although I am not sure how one would use it in everday conversation …. would you say “I am feeling distinctly accidie today”? LOL

      Thanks for stopping by

  • Wow!! I’m impressed with this week’s words, and from P.D. James, no less. I do love her mysteries but I don’t recall being stumped by so many new words. I haven’t read this one. Is it different?

    • Hi Margot,

      I can’t believe that I came across so many words within the first chapter and that standard of writing and use of some great descriptive language has continued throughout the book.

      This is totally different to anything else of hers that I have read, certainly nothing like her mysteries. This is a real dystopian, almost apocalyptic novel, that is so potentially possible that it is frightening, a real gripping story, that is well ahead of its time.

      I am about half way through it now and would thoroughly recommend it, if you want a real edge of the seat read.

      Good talking with you.

    • Hi Vicki,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting,

      Finding all those words so soon into the book was a bit of a surprise, although I always enjoy researching new words and can’t stand to read on without understanding a passage.

      This is where the internet comes into its own, as whenever we are watching television or a movie and something crops up, be it a word or name, that we don’t recognise, it is generally a race to see who can get to their laptop first and look it up!

  • I actually already knew all of these, but the only reason I knew “accidie” is because I’m an Eastern Orthodox Christian. It occurs at times in our older theological writings, and I encountered it in seminary classes.

    • Hi JNCL,

      Thanks for visiting today and leaving your most welcome comments, it is always good to ‘meet’ new people, so feel free to stop by as often as you wish.

      ‘Accidie’ does actually sound like quite an ancient word, so it is good to know that it can still be found today.

      The whole book seems to be rich in its word content and use of language and so far is proving to be quite an inspirational read, even if I do need to stop occasionally to research another little gem of a word.

    • Hi Annie,

      Thanks for visiting Fiction Books, it is good to talk with you again.

      P.D. James will always be remembered the most for her series of books featuring Adam Dalgliesh, almost everyone seems to know about them.

      This book, ‘The Children Of Men’ is a total change of writing style for her and I think it proves her versatility, with the great way she can conjure up a scene in the mind, with just a few well chosen words.

  • Wow, such fantastic words. I do like the notion of accidie, but I think I like the word torpor much more. It sounds so languid. I’m feeling rather torporous myself today.

    • Hi Louise,

      I am amazed at the wealth of words that are still in use and recognized, which date back hundreds of years, ‘accidie’ being one of them.

      The central character in the opening chapter, where all my words came from, is actually an historian, so it kind of figures that he would still use many of these outdated words. With that in mind, P.D. James has done a great job with researching all the words to keep the whole scenario in context.

      Many of these old words appear to have a common theme of not sounding particularly nice or friendly. Personally I prefer ‘languid’ to ‘torpor’ and at the end of a busy working day, at 5pm, I am now definitely feeling ‘languorous’, at least I would be if only I could get those ‘u’s and ‘o’s round the right way. LOL

      Thanks for the visit

    • Hi Yvonne,

      Some of the words that come up are amazing, many of the older English language words sound downright awful, and many of the words are just plain hilarious ….. but universally, they are all always …. interesting!

      It would be great to have you join in. I see that you enjoy taking part in memes, and I am sure you would have lots to contribute here .. so ‘come on in, the water’s warm’

      Have a great weekend

    • Hi Serena,

      Thanks for stopping by, it is always good to meet new people and to share and exchange views and ideas.

      Effulgence always reminds me of Effluent (liquid waste products), which doesn’t make it sound quite so appealing. I think I would much prefer someone to describe something as radiant or having a brilliant radiance … so much nicer.

Written by Yvonne