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

Wondrous Words Wednesday
New To Me Words

Image of an open book showing words, with a small purple sprig led across the pages - used for the meme Wondrous Words Wednesday


Wondrous Words Wednesday …

Is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we have encountered in our reading, or elsewhere

Image of an open book showing words, with a small purple sprig led across the pages - used for the meme Wondrous Words Wednesday

1. My first word this time, I discovered in the book I am currently reading for a Blog Tour spot in March

Cover image of the book 'Every last Fear' by author Alex Finlay

“Does that sound like the work of a staggering drunk teenager? And then we found out that the prosecutor had withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense…”

EXCULPATORY – Adjective form of exculpate, to show or declare that (someone) is not guilty of wrongdoing.

Image of an open book showing words, with a small purple sprig led across the pages - used for the meme Wondrous Words Wednesday

2. My second word this time, is also from a book I am due to review in March

Cover image of the book 'Mystery By The Sea' by author Verity Bright

“Either side of the enormous stage’s ornate proscenium arch, a gold curtained entrance harked back to the theatre’s origins as the world’s most lavish permanent circus”


The part of a theatre stage in front of the curtain, usually between the curtain and the orchestra.

In the ancient Greek theatre, the proscenium (Greek: proskēnion) originally referred to a row of colonnades, supporting a raised acting platform (logeion), and afterward to the entire acting area. A proscenium in the modern sense was first installed in a permanent theatre in 1618-19 at the Farnese Theatre built in Parma, Italy.

Image of an open book showing words, with a small purple sprig led across the pages - used for the meme Wondrous Words Wednesday

3. Finally this time, I came across this word whilst blog hopping across at the site of Laurel-Rain Snow and whilst many of my US visitors might have come across this term before, it is definitely a new one on me! This was used in the book’s premise.

Cover image of the book 'The Wife Upstairs' by author Rachel Hawkins

“Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.”

TCHOTCHKES – (The first definition applies in this instance)

North American – a small object that is decorative rather than strictly functional; a trinket.

US – a pretty girl or woman.

Cover image of the book 'The Wife Upstairs' by author Rachel Hawkins

4. Here in the UK, the equivalent word would usually be

KNICK-KNACK or NICK-NACK – Small worthless objects, especially household ornaments….. (which of course is not new to me)

That’s three/four new to me words this time

How many of them do you recognise?

Wondrous Words Wednesday Meme Button by Mareli @ Elza Reads - New Host in January 2021

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 Mareli, over at ‘Elza Reads

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 Mareli and the rest of us, all love to read your comments as well, so that we can visit and share your own words of the week, or simply say Hi!


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 just love tchotchke, sounds a bit Polish. Fun!
    Proscenium is an industry-specific word, so I’m not surprised I’m not familiar with that one.
    I am familiar with exculpatory, which is very similar to the Romanian equivalent, not surprising as it comes from Latin.

    • Hi Anca,

      I must admit that ‘tchotchke’ really made me smile too and finding it in that particular premise, was the first time I have ever heard it or seen it written down.

      I guess I could probably have taken a stab at ‘proscenium’, as it has part of the word scenery in it, but it would have been a completely random guess and I wouldn’t have got anywhere close to the official definition.

      I am pleased that you manged to get one of the words this time, I have to admit that I couldn’t even have begun to try and work out the definition for exculpatory.

      Thanks for your support, I always appreciate it 🙂

      PS. I am going to try again today, but I have been unable to access your book blog for the last couple of days. Microsoft did an update on my PC on Sunday, which screwed up some of my settings, but DG sorted all those out last night and everything was back cleaned up when I went to bed. Unfortunately, whilst every other site is responding okay today, yours is not. If it is definitely not at your end, we will need to investigate further, but that won’t be until the weekend (it just keeps throwing up an Error 404 message) 🙂

  • I remember studying all three of these words in school. I could not have given you a dictionary definition but I knew the general gist of the words.

    I wonder how you pronounce “tchotchkes.” It looks like /ˈCHäCHkə/. Chachka? That’s a fun word.

    • Hi Deb,

      What’s that Abe Lincoln quote, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

      There was obviously no fooling you today, and there was me thinking I had a few good words! 🙂

      As for pronouncing ‘tchotchke’, I watched so many videos which all decreed that theirs was the correct pronunciation – and guess what? – They were all slightly different, so I’m still not sure about it. Perhaps it is just one of those words which is open to interpretation, a bit like the English equivalent ‘knick-knack’, which can be spelt with or without the ‘k’!

      Thanks for stopping by, it is great to talk words with you 🙂

  • They’re all words that I recognize, for one reason or another, but I’m not sure I could have correctly defined any of them. Maybe with multiple choice options.

    I would use the term knick-knacks.

    • Hi Kelly,

      I remember us discussing the possibility of multiple choice options before, I still think it would be good for a laugh, add a bit more fun and competitiveness to the whole proceedings! It really is frustrating when you look at a word, think ‘I know that one’ and then can’t verbalise a definition for it – almost as bad as calling something a ‘thingamajig’ when I can’t remember the name for it 🙂

      I must admit that I haven’t come across ‘tchotchke’ before being used for either definition and I was quite surprised to see it in a book’s premise, although the blog owner assured me that she also uses it all the time. I think I would be quite insulted if someone called me ‘tchotchke’ if they meant pretty, it just doesn’t sound right!

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • Hi there Yvonne!

    Exculpatory is a very descriptive word: Ex (past) culprit (guilty one). I love it! And it reminds me that I should read more courtroom dramas again. I used to love those!

    Aaaah, I’m so chuffed now! I knew what ‘proscenium’ means! But then, I studied theatre and drama many, many moons ago and Greek Theatre and Stage and Costume design were all compulsory subjects.

    I still want to read The wife upstairs, sounds so good.

    Thanks for participating in Wondrous Words Wednesday, Yvonne! I am so glad you enjoy it and that you are so positive about it.

    Enjoy the rest of the week and take care of yourself.

    • Hi Mareli,

      If you studied Greek theatre and stage, then I guess you would have been a little disappointed with yourself if you had failed to recognise ‘proscenium’. Those must have been some really interesting times for you!

      Like yourself, I haven’t read a good courtroom drama for some time now, although I have read my share of crime thrillers in general. I used to enjoy a good John Grisham book and I actually saw many of the film adaptations of his stories, which is something I don’t generally do. I usually prefer to either read the book or watch the film, but not normally both!

      ‘The Wife Upstairs’ is also on my list to read, it does sound really good. The premise reminds me a little of the storyline of the film ‘What Lies Beneath’ with Harrison Ford.

      I always have enjoyed the WWW meme. It’s a great chance to share new words which I love, but it can also be a little competitive to se if I actually know someone else’s word, makes me feel good anyway!

      Take Care and enjoy the rest of your week 🙂

  • I did know two of your words here. The first one not sure why I was familiar with – probably due to watching crime shows. Not heard of the second word but good to know – I love finding new words. And the third word I wasn’t familiar with until I read the Wife Upstairs recently and looked it up to.
    Great post.
    Lynn 😀

    • Hi Lynn,

      I always have pen and paper to hand whenever I am reading or watching television, so that I can jot down those new to me words, which just beg to be researched! It would be even better if I could remember all of the newly discovered definitions with such ease. It’s not surprising they tell you to teach your kids all you can when they are young, as I can recall all that stuff, but not something new I learnt only a few days ago!

      When hubbie used to work away, the TV was permanently tuned to the channel showing all the crime shows and series of an evening, but now he is home based it’s a different story, as I never even see the remote any more and he would rather watch science and wildlife programmes!

      Thank you so much for stopping by, at least you discovered one new word this time, and I always appreciate your support 🙂

      • I’m similar tbh, I often say that if one new fact manages to squeeze itself into my brain then one old fact must have been pushed out at the same time. Names are my worst. I’m terrible for meeting new people and then forgetting what they’re called.
        In fact one of the bonuses to me predominantly reading on kindle these days is it’s so easy to look up the definition of a word.
        Lynn 😀

        • I’m not too bad with names, addresses, postcodes, phone numbers etc. but that’s probably just as well, as hubbie is rubbish and no-one would ever get a greetings card from us, if it wasn’t for me!!

          I wouldn’t like to think that I had to go back and study for exams though, as that is definite ‘quivering nervous wreck’ material! 🙂

Written by Yvonne