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

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!

1. My first word this week I discovered over at the Goodreads author page for D.E. Meredith, whose book ‘The Devil’s Ribbon’ I have been featuring, prior to reading and reviewing. Denise had rated this book, from her own Goodreads ‘Read’ list and I was intrigued enough by the title to check out this new to me word and even though the answer was a bit of a giveaway in the book’s title, I thought it was worth sharing!


Pteridomania or Fern Fever took a frantic hold in Britain from the 1840s. It was a craze fostered by an array of books and magazines and special equipment designed for fern hunting trips and the cultivation of the finds in delicate fern cases.

PTERIDOMANIA … or Fern-Fever was a craze for ferns. Victorian decorative arts presented the fern motif in pottery, glass, metal, textiles, wood, printed paper, and sculpture, with ferns appearing on everything from christening presents to gravestones and memorials, causing rarer species to come under severe threat.

An Example Of Pteridomania

2. I can always rely on my blogging friend Tracy, over at ‘Pen and Paper’, to come up with words which have me completely stumped and rushing for the ‘Google Definitions’ button! This time was no exception. Tracy was taking part in a blog tour for this book, the final part of a trilogy she had been following and this time I needed to look no further than the book’s title, before crying Help! Check out her excellent post and review, here


In the finale of Sofia’s memoir, Consolamentum, both dramatic and poignant, her dreams of home are shattered when her own family betrays her. Raising her child on her own, mourning the loss of her beloved knight, and building a trading empire, she seeks safe haven for her child and herself. Her quest takes her from Antioch to Constantinople to Venice. A surprise reunion in Venice leads her to France where she runs afoul of the newly established Holy Inquisition, possibly the greatest challenge she has yet faced. Can a woman so marked by oppression, betrayal, and danger ever find her safe haven, much less genuine happiness?


The Consolamentum was a spiritual baptism, as described in the New Testament, where the Jewish practice of baptism by water was abrogated, and baptism by fire implemented. (Modern Christians remember this as Pentecost and some, Pentecostalists, make it the main feature of their theology). Only a Parfait could administer the Consolamentum, which meant that every new Parfait stood at the end of a chain of predecessor Parfaits linking him or her to the apostles and to Jesus himself.

It was the most significant ceremony in Cathar theology, marking the transition from ordinary believer (auditore or credente) to to Parfait, one of the elect. During the ceremony the Holy Spirit was believed to descend from heaven, and part of the Holy Spirit would then inhabit the Parfait’s corporal body. It was largely because of this indwelling portion of the Holy Spirit that Parfaits were expected and willing to lead such austere ascetic lives, and why ordinary believers were prepared to “adore” them.

3. This word I found written down on a scrap of paper, pushed inside my reading notebook. I have no idea where I read it, but I obviously thought it would be a good word to include in this meme at some point!

Image of a Strelitzia (Bird Of Paradise) flower

 Strelitzia – (Bird Of Paradise)

Symbol Of Faithfulness


FLORIOGRAPHY The Language Of Flowers.

Floriography is the ‘language of flowers’. Dating back to the Victorian times floriography was used as a means of coded communication through various flowers and floral arrangements, allowing people to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken.

Through the years people have used flowers to express their feelings to others in many ways and in modern times flowers still have various different meanings:

4. My final word this time comes from St Bartholomew’s Man, a book I finished not too long ago and which has made my featured  ‘favourites list’, over at Goodreads.

Image Of A Shawm


Shawms and trumpets were blown until the musicians’ cheeks stood out like red apples.

SHAWM – A medieval and Renaissance wind instrument, forerunner of the oboe, with a double reed enclosed in a wooden mouthpiece, and having a penetrating tone. It was likely of ancient origin and was imported to Europe from the Islamic East at some point between the 9th and 12th centuries.

That’s all from me. What new words have you discovered this time? … I can’t wait to stop by and check them out!

Written by

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 come across any new ones this week, but I did encounter one of my old favorites: gormless.
    It’s not a word I ever heard in the U.S. and it wasn’t in my vocabulary until I encountered it in the Lovejoy mysteries years ago. This week I saw it in one of Deborah Crombie’s books. Love the sound of it.

    • Hi Carolyn,

      Gormless is not a word you will hear as often today, as you used to, ‘political correctness’ and all that, although I’m afraid that I still use it quite often!

      I read in Deborah’s biography, that she travels to the UK frequently to research her books, so I guess it is inevitable that she is going to pick up some of our bad habits 🙂

      I haven’t read any of Deborah’s books, although I am constantly amazed at the amount of American authors who want to write about English detectives and vice versa. I should have thought it would have been much easier to write about what you know and are used to … What is it that I am missing?

      We have been reading about the snow storms which have engulfed the New York area today, so I am guessing that you are not as disappointed by your recent West Coast battering by the wind, as you were when you wrote to me!

      Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

      • Having spent two weeks in the UK and wishing since then that I’m able to go back soon, I can see how you “catch the bug.” But it does seem that it would require research beyond what would be necessary to set a book in your hometown. But research can often be an end in itself and enjoyable.

        • I love carrying out research into a subject, although I can sometimes lose myself in it, so that I don’t realise just how much time has elapsed. To actually have the opportunity to visit a country in person to conduct research, must be so enlightening.

          Dave worked with American companies for over 10 years and travelled to just about every US shore, albeit on business and he still maintains that he only scratched the surface of what an American truly is:)

          Take Care

  • Great selection of words! I think #3 is the only one I could readily have given a definition for. I had to look up “consolamentum” myself when I read the book. In fact, while reading that trilogy, I jotted down a couple of words to save for the next time you did this meme.

    The first was 73% into the Kindle version of Solomon’s Bride (Rebecca Hazell) and, though it was easily defined through its context, I had never seen it before (normally using “last rites” or “extreme unction” instead).

    Viaticum – The Eucharist as give to a person near or in danger of death. (Archaic) a supply of provision or an official allowance of money for a journey.

    The second was 95% into the Kindle version of Consolamentum (Rebecca Hazell).

    Filioque – A word used in some versions of the Nicene Creed which contributed to a major rift between the Eastern and Western Christian churches.

    • Hi Kelly,

      I think between us, we have cornered the market in religious words for this meme. I have a whole host of such words, which came from ‘St. Bartholomew’s Man’, by Mary Delorme. In fact I think this is the one book I have read so far, where I have needed to look up so many words!

      I would have probably guessed that Viaticum had something to do with The Vatican, so I suppose that I would have been half right, as the term is given to a service particularly administered by the Catholic faith.

      I would have had no inkling as to what filioque might mean or refer to and after reading the page on Wikipedia, I can’t say that I am much the wiser, although to be fair, there is a warning at the top of the page that the article may be too technical for most readers to understand!

      I would have said that perhaps the Rebecca Hazell trilogy was a little too religious for my liking, but then ‘St Bartholomew’s Man’ was definitely a story steeped in religion and I thoroughly enjoyed that.

      Thanks for sharing your words and for stopping by, I appreciate you taking part in the conversation.

      • Ha! You’ll notice my definition of “filioque” was broad because I, too, was still a bit in the dark after reading up on it (and I consider myself fairly competent regarding theology).

        I would hate for you to miss out on the Hazell trilogy because you thought it might be too religious. It only seems that way because you can’t really delve into the history of that period without focusing on religion. I highly recommend the books and found them to be quite informative as well as very entertaining. As far as religion, they really hit home as to how much has been done (both bad and good) in the name of religion (not just Christianity because there is a great deal about Islam in the books, too). I found Sofia, the heroine of the series, to be admirable in quite a number of ways. You really should consider reading them.

        • I was definitely beginning to think I was missing something obvious on the Wikipedia page for Filioque, even after reading it a couple of times! It is good to know that I am not that thick and stupid after all!

          You hit the nail on the head when you talk of all the things which have been done so say in the name of religion. Whilst just about every war which has been and still is, being waged around the world, was started in the name of religion of any and all denominations, I am struggling to give an honest answer about anything good the Church has done in its recent past.

          I really feel that I need to relent and add this trilogy to my ‘Want To Read’ list, as you argue such a good case for the books, although goodness knows when I shall actually get around to reading them all.

          Thanks once again for the recommendation, I value your thoughts and opinions about the books you read:)

          • While so many have turned away from religion in general, and “organized” religion in particular…. I still have faith in its overall good, even in this day and age. 🙂

            • I would never take anyone’s right to faith away from them, so long as it is used for the good of all, not for the benefit of some and the destruction of others 🙂

    • Hi Kathy,

      The Victorians seem to have been quite enamoured by flowers and fauna, both in their artwork and in the many collections and specimens they amassed from all over the world.

      They were also definitely people who liked to use the most unpronounceable words to describe their collecting fetishes, although it does seem a little strange to define pteridomania, as a fern ‘frenzy’!

      Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your comment and the time you take in making this lovely meme available to all:)

    • Hi Tracy,

      No problem about the mention, I only hope that you don’t mind me quoting your site and material in the first place? I am not sure that my initial thoughts about a book are all that positive, when it has a title which I have no idea of the meaning of. However both yourself and Kelly have been such positive advocates for this series, that I can see myself reading it eventually!

      Shawm is a great sounding word, isn’t it, although I do find myself wanting to say shwam all the time:) I’m afraid that I am not a very musical person and have never learnt to play an instrument, so had no idea what a shawm was, without looking it up.

      Thanks for stopping by, I always appreciate your comments and thoughts.

  • These are all brilliant Yvonne, I hadn’t heard of any of them before, thank you for featuring them. I especially like the fern one, we like ferns but I had no idea there was a word such as this!

    • Hi Lindsay,

      It’s funny how we all like ferns, isn’t it? They are almost relaxing to look at and there are so many unique varieties, that I can quite see why the Victorians might have first become obsessed by them.

      Have to ever been to The Lost Gardens Of Heligan, in Cornwall? They have a ‘jungle’ area, full of exotic plants and ferns, the size of many being breathtaking!


      Kew Gardens in London, is host to the Marianne North collection of prints and canvases. Marianne was a talented Victorian artist and prolific traveller and her many works of art reflect the flora, fauna and ferns, captured in her Worldwide travels.


      Thanks for stopping by, it is great to hear from you and always a pleasure to receive your comments.

    • Hi Hila,

      I am constantly amazed at the amount of new to me words I come across in the course of my reading, I just wish that some of them weren’t such tongue twisters to pronounce sometimes!

      Pteridomania is probably my favourite if I am being honest, but I am probably influenced in that by the couple of amazing reference points I could remember to illustrate it (check out the comment from Lindsay above).

      Shawm is a great word for an instrument (although I do keep wanting to say Shwam) and I didn’t think about You Tubing it to see one in action, so thanks so much for the link. I can see the Islamic Middle Eastern influences in its shape, although the sound is much harsher than that of an oboe, don’t you think?

      Thanks for dropping by, it was great to hear from you.

Written by Yvonne