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

Wondrous Words Wednesday

1. – First up this time is a word I heard used during the Channel 4 evening news programme of 7th February 2017.

There was an interview, conducted by Channel 4 reporter Matt Frei, with Donald Trump adviser Ted Malloch, in which the question was posed …

Do you relish the opprobrium you are getting in places like Europe?

You can check out this 4 minute interview here.


Harsh criticism or censure.

Public disgrace arising from shameful conduct.

An occasion or cause of reproach or disgrace.



2. – This word I discovered when browsing the Goodreads Giveaway selection on 9th February 2017.

To be honest, it was the sheer length of the book’s title which caught my eye, before I zoomed in on this particular word and needed to know what it meant.

“Diatomaceous Earth or The Humdrum Life of the Lackadaisical Barry: A Field Guide for the Birds” By H.Williams


is a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. Depending on the granularity, this powder can have an abrasive feel, similar to pumice powder, and has a low density as a result of its high porosity. The typical chemical composition of oven-dried diatomaceous earth is 80 to 90% silica, with 2 to 4% alumina (attributed mostly to clay minerals) and 0.5 to 2% iron oxide.

Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. It is used as a filtration aid, mild abrasive in products including metal polishes and toothpaste, mechanical insecticide, absorbent for liquids, matting agent for coatings, reinforcing filler in plastics and rubber, anti-block in plastic films, porous support for chemical catalysts, cat litter, activator in blood clotting studies, a stabilizing component of dynamite, and a thermal insulator.



3. – And finally this time, a word I discovered in a review by the lovely Naida @’The Bookworm

“Things We Lost In The Fire: Stories” By Mariana Enriquez

Macabre, disturbing and exhilarating, Things We Lost in the Fire is a collection of twelve short stories that use fear and horror to explore multiple dimensions of life in contemporary Argentina. From women who set themselves on fire in protest of domestic violence to angst-ridden teenage girls, friends until death do they part, to street kids and social workers, young women bored of their husbands or boyfriends, to a nine-year-old serial killer of babies and a girl who pulls out her nails and eyelids in the classroom, to hikikomori, abandoned houses, black magic, northern Argentinean superstition, disappearances, crushes, heartbreak, regret and compassion. This is a strange, surreal and unforgettable collection by an astonishing new talent asking vital questions of the world as we know it.


In Japan, Hikikomori, (literally “pulling inward, being confined”, i.e., “acute social withdrawal”) are reclusive adolescents or adults who withdraw from social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement. Hikikomori refers to both the phenomenon in general and the recluses themselves. Hikikomori have been described as loners or “modern-day hermits.”



… Is An image for the weekly meme Wondrous Words Wednesdaya 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!


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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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    • Hi Kathy,

      I’m sure that my family and friends think I am quite mad when I carry pen and paper everywhere I go, just in case I catch wind of a new to me word I can share with you all.

      If I happen to catch a new to me word during the course of the evening news programme (opprobrium being a prime example) and we are eating our evening meal so I can’t reach pen and paper quite in time, I will then find the news episode on catch-up or play-back and listen to it again, to refresh my memory about the word and the context in which it was used. Then I’m certain even hubbie thinks I have lost my mind!!

      Thanks for hosting WWW and for sharing our posts and words 🙂

  • Opprobrium I had heard of but would have been hard pushed to define it. The other two are completely new to me. I must say that I’m constantly surprised at how many words some languages have for which we have no direct equivalent in English… like Hikikomori. Fascinating.

    • Hi Cath,

      I feel the same way as you about opprobrium, but might that be because it sounds quite like opposition do you think?

      I am also surprised how true the exact opposite is of the observation you made about language equivalents. We listened to an interview with one of the French election candidates the other night, followed by an interview with a Catalonian politician and I was amazed at just how many English words were slipped into the conversations, which were conducted in French and Spanish respectively. I guess that there is simply no local equivalent to these words, so using the English version is the obvious option!

      Language and the written word is certainly very powerful and so interesting to observe.

      Thanks for your great comments, I always enjoy exchanging views and opinions with you 🙂

  • I don’t think I knew any of these, though opprobrium sounds awfully familiar. I really like that last one! I need to make note of it, in case I decide to be come a hikikomori! 😉

    I work the crossword in my local paper each day and it’s always quite easy, but not long ago they used a word I wasn’t familiar with and had to look up to make sure it was correct! (having filled it in by completing the other clues)

    Pelf – money, especially when gained in a dishonest or dishonorable way.

    • Hi Kelly,

      I do enjoy a good crossword, although I seldom get the time to work one these days. I also only attempt ‘straight’ crosswords, the cryptic variety don’t do anything for me at all!

      I have never come across ‘pelf’ before, what a great word, I really need to find a way of using it in conversation, as I’m sure no-one else will have a clue as to its meaning! I must admit that I keep wanting to say ‘pilfer’, which is much more familiar a word, but of course has a totally different meaning – Oh! how the brain is pre-conditioned!!

      It is at times such as I am experiencing now, that becoming a hikikomori sounds like a brilliant idea. I could think of so many things I could catch up on, without being hassled or harassed and I am quite fond of my own company at the best of times. Perhaps I may get a bit bored and lonely after a while though!

      Thanks for the visit and I hope that you have some great reading on the go 🙂

    • Hi Mary Ann

      I’m not sure which of these three is the most interesting for me… ‘Whilst ‘Things We Lost In The Fire’ is an intriguing and interesting collection of stories, I think that diatomaceous is by far the most interesting word, given its many properties and uses.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by, I always value your visits and comments 🙂

  • I must admit I hadn’t heard of any of those words before.

    I can’t remember what the word was now, but I was watching a programme the other day and recall exclaiming “What that actually a real word?!” and nobody else in the room had heard of it either!

    • Hi Nikki,

      I must admit that some words do sound as though they are made up by the speaker, particularly when I have heard Will Self being interviewed. The guy has such an immense intellect and grasp of the English language, that he leaves many of us standing in awe!


      I generally have pen and paper to hand, to jot down new to me words as I hear them, for the very reason that I am liable to forget them just as fast as I came across them if I don’t!!

      Thanks for visiting and I hope that things are getting a little better for you now that spring is fast approaching 🙂

Written by Yvonne