Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wondrous Words Wednesday (28)

Welcome back, wordy friends!

Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by BermudaOnion each week. It's an opportunity to share new words you've encountered in your reading, or highlight words that you particularly enjoy.

Here are three of my favorite new-to-me words from Found Objects by Peter Gelfan.  
All definitions from

1. thymus. "Making friends is a natural imperative for children, like eating and sleeping, but one which disappears, thymus-like, with adulthood."  

a ductless, butterfly-shaped gland lying at the base of the neck, formed mostly of lymphatic tissue and aiding in the production of T cells of the immune system: after puberty, the lymphatic tissue gradually degenerates.

Here's my biology lesson for the week.  Cool use of the word in the text!

2. atelier. "Jonah's guided tour arrived at my studio...'Your atelier,' he said."  

a workshop or studio, especially of an artist, artisan, or designer. .

Guess that one was pretty self-explanatory in the context it was used, but it was a word I didn't recognize.

3. semiotics. "I've never been able to decipher the semiotics of Erica's assemblages."
1. the study of signs and symbols as elements of communicative behavior; the analysis of systems of communication, as language, gestures, or clothing.
2. a general theory of signs and symbolism, usually divided in to the branches of pragmatics, semantics, and syntactics.

Erica's character has a tendency to leave random clusters of "found objects" around the house.  Here, the narrator is attempting to figure out what relationship the objects have to one another.

What are your new words this week?


  1. I've heard of the thymus gland before but I've never seen the word used in that context. Interesting. Thanks for playing along!

  2. I also heard of the thymus gland before, others are new to me.

  3. I wonder if semiotics comes from the same root as semantics? Thanks.

    1. Oh good question! That word did come to mind when I saw this one.

  4. Very interesting words this week. I also found the use of thymus in that sentence. Sometimes I think authors grab words from somewhere just to make their writing look classier.

    1. Yes...I think it looks obvious when authors do that if it's not infused throughout their writing. However, this author seems to have a gift for it; I found a lot of words like this in his writing.

  5. Awesome words. I have never heard of any of them.

  6. I've heard of atelier but for some reason never looked it up, so that was good to read. I was thinking like Margot on the thymus though, the sentence works but it's a strange thing to say. If it's like that throughout, though, and more a style, I can see it working.


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