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Wondrous Words Wednesday

An image for the weekly meme 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, so that we can visit and share your words of the week!

My words this week, are taken from my current read … ‘The Hapless Valet’ by Lenhardt Stevens.


I shall not gaze at Mina in any but an avuncular manner


Of or relating to an uncle.

Kind and friendly toward a younger or less experienced person: “an avuncular manner”.


Mr. Delaney looked less hunky in the mug shots, yet his eyes conveyed the thrill from the ’cause celebre’ leading to his felony conviction for plotting the destruction of a maquiladora

Image of a maquiladoraMEQUILADORA –

An assembly plant in Mexico, especially one along the border between the United States and Mexico, to which foreign materials and parts are shipped and from which the finished product is returned to the original market.


The expression of goodwill, the actor knew, was a reminder that Barbosa believed he had him by the cojones. The task at hand was to exploit that belief

COJONES  – In Spanish this word literally translates as testicles

                  – In English or US usage the word is used as a metaphor for a brazen or brave attitude

The first English-language text to contain the word cojones as a metaphor for bravery is Ernest Hemingway’s 1932 book on bullfighting, ‘Death in the Afternoon’. “It takes more cojones,” he wrote, “to be a sportsman where death is a closer party to the game.”


Watching these films as a kid on late night TV and at the art houses during her UCLA days planted in her the movie bug and formed the wild gestalt of the mother-daughter relationship

GESTALT – An organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.


“My Mexican grandmother served huevos rancheros to Clark Gable and Carole Lombard in this nook”, the innkeeper said after topping off James Delaney’s coffee.

A picture of a plate of food Huevos RancherosHUEVOS RANCHEROS – “rancher’s eggs” is a popular breakfast dish consisting of eggs served in the style of the traditional large mid-morning fare on rural Mexican farms.

The basic dish consists of fried eggs served upon lightly fried corn tortillas topped with a tomato-chili sauce. Refried beans, Mexican-style rice, slices of avocado, or guacamole are common accompaniments.

I am guessing that the English equivalent of this meal, would be ‘fried egg on toast with baked beans’A plate of fried egg on toast with baked beans. This is not too dissimilar in appearance, although probably does not taste as spicy!

What new words did you discover this week?

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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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  • These are interesting words, and today is actually Dictionary Day in the U.S. 🙂
    And I pride myself in having cojones (not literally of course) lol But I’ve definitely toughened up over the years.

    • Hi Naida,

      I have just spent a few moments checking out the date of the UK’s Dictionary Day, but it would seem that October 16th is a universally recognised date for the event … so ‘Happy Dictionary Day’!

      I also came across a couple of great sites, where random words are generated daily, together with their definition …. so I need never be stuck for a word selection for my WWW post again!!

      I had anticipated that you might know many of my words today, as they have a distinctly Spanish/Mexican flavour, in keeping with the stoyline of the book.

      I am surprised that Ernest Hemingway used the word ‘cojones’ in any of his work, I don’t find it a particularly pleasant sounding word at all.

      I have always thought of myself as quite a strong willed, fairly unemotional person, however I have found that the older I get, instead of becoming even stronger and more resolute, I have in fact, become weaker, more easily led and much more emotional about just about everything! What’s that all about?

      Thanks for stopping by, your continued support and lovely comments, are always appreciated.

    • Hi Tracy,

      This is really a great fun meme, although with the serious purpose of discovering and sharing new words that we come across in our reading.

      I don’t know about you, but I often come across words which I vaguely know the meaning of, but end up by taking a rough guess at what the definition is, in the context the word is being used.

      Now, I will actually take the time to stop my reading and check out the word,then share it with everyone else in my next post.

      Gestalt is indeed a German word and apparently there is no exact equivalent in English. There is also something called ‘Gestalt Psychology’ and I found this very useful, short explanation, at the Encyclopedia Britannica online;

      Gestalt psychology, school of psychology founded in the 20th century that provided the foundation for the modern study of perception. Gestalt theory emphasizes that the whole of anything is greater than its parts. That is, the attributes of the whole are not deducible from analysis of the parts in isolation. The word Gestalt is used in modern German to mean the way a thing has been “placed,” or “put together.” There is no exact equivalent in English. “Form” and “shape” are the usual translations; in psychology the word is often interpreted as “pattern” or “configuration.”

      Now I need to check out your post about Dictionary Day, so thanks for stopping by.

    • Hi Joy,

      I have never heard ‘cojones’ used in the UK, although it is a slightly more agreeable way of saying ‘have the balls to…’, which is typically what we English would say.

      That word and many others of Spanish/Mexican derivation, are probably quite widely used in some of the major cities, where the hispanic communities are more prevelant.

      In the UK, we would probably translate ‘maquiladora’, as ‘sweatshop’, although thankfully there are relatively few of those around any more, only those subversively run by gang bosses using illegal immigrant labour.

      Thanks for stopping by today and for your valued comments, which are always appreciated.

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      I love discovering new words, as investigating them helps me to maintain a much clearer focus on my reading. When those words are not in my own native tongue, this just serves to add to the intrigue and need to check out the definitions. It is satisfying to then share my finds with everyone!

      Thanks for stopping by today and sharing in my great new finds this week.

  • I know I’ve seen avuncular before but I had no idea of its meaning – I think I can remember it with the unc in there. I knew cojones and have heard it used for the Spanish definition. There are some restaurants here where you can order huevos rancheros so I knew what the meal is but didn’t know what the translation is.Thanks for playing along!

    • Hi Kathy,

      The differences between huevos rancheros and our slightly less spicy English version, are very minimal if you compare the two pictures, although of course this would not constitute our ‘full English breakfast’, which would include many more items including sausage, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, possibly black pudding and fried bread! Not something that I could face in the mornings, unless I were on holiday!!

      I think we may have had avuncular before, somewhere on this meme, it just sounds so familiar, although that didn’t really help me much when it came to remembering the definition.

      Thanks for visiting and checking out my words, you do such a great job at hosting the meme.

  • What a great group of words you found. Sounds to be an interesting book. I knew heuvos rancheros, but don’t think I’ve ever eaten them. Avuncular is one of those words that I’ve come across several times, but the meaning hasn’t really stuck, not sure why, it’s not actually that hard. Gestalt I know as a word, but thought of the meaning as something a bit different, so it’s nice to learn the proper meaning. I think I’ve heard cojones on tv somehow, but now I know the meaning may have some chance of remembering it. I wondered if maquiladora was going to be the Spanish equivalent of Kathy’s maquillage, but sadly not…

    • Hi Louise,

      Finding such a diverse set of words in one book was really great, especially those which were not in my native English, as discovering their meanings and usage was so interesting.

      Like yourself, I am sure that I have come across avuncular before and possibly even looked up its definition, but with me having a memory the size of a pea, it obviously just hasn’t sunk in!!

      I shall have to keep a list of the words which have already been researched, just so I don’t end up by repeating them … this is obviously just an age thing!!

      I too, thought that Kathy’s word maquillage was a real find and I am sure that there would be few of us who would have known or guessed at the correct definition, although I suppose if I had needed to hazzard a guess, I would have said that it was something to do with a mask, which isn’t a million miles away from reality!!

      Thanks for your great comments, they are always welcome and appreciated.

    • Hi Scribacchina,

      Every time I take part in this meme, I set myself the challenge of trying to remember at least one new word and its definition …. guess what? By the following day I will have forgotten it again!!

      I genuinely love discovering new words, even if I have to be diverted away from my reading to check them out. I can’t see the point of reading a book, when there are words which I may not know the meaning of, yet which may be pivotal to the storyline.

      I have always been a fussy and pernickety individual and I am not going to change now!!

      Thanks for stopping by, long time no talk, it is good to hear from you again.

Written by Yvonne