Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wondrous Words Wednesday (37)

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  Cooked by Michael Pollan.  
All definitions from

1. fungible. "Exquisitely reactive and fungible, bacteria can swap genes and pieces of DNA among themselves, picking them up and dropping them almost as if they were tools."   

(especially of goods) being of such nature or kind as to be freely exchangeable or replaceable, in whole or in part, for another of like nature or kind.

Totally new word to me, but the definition makes perfect sense in this context.

2. exegesis. "On the home page I clicked on 'Attraction & Repulsion' and found this soaring, overripe, and ungrammatical flight of cheesy exegesis..."

critical explanation or interpretation of a text or portion of a text, especially of the Bible.

Here, Pollan is talking about an odd diatribe that he found on a cheese maker's Facebook page.  I'm guessing he's referring to the tone of the diatribe,as the excerpt itself was not very Biblical!

3. redound. "And this tally doesn't include the alcohol fermented for fuel and other industrial purposes...or, for that matter, all the chance spontaneous fermentations that S. cerevisiae performs on fallen or split fruit, wet seeds, and tree sap, ferments that redound mainly to the benefit of animals."
1. to have a good or bad effect or result, as to the advantage or disadvantage of a person or thing.
2. to result or accrue, as to a person.
3. to come back or reflect upon a person as to honor or disgrace (usually followed by on or upon).

Totally confused this one with "rebound" at first.  A much more complicated definition than I expected.

What are your new words this week?


  1. The definition of fungible does make sense but I thought it might have something to do with fungus or mushrooms. Great words today!

    1. Agreed re: fungus, especially because this is a book about food!

  2. Replies
    1. I can totally agree with that. lol!

  3. I know I've seen these words before, but I never really knew what they meant. But fungible is kind of gross-sounding. Ew :P

  4. This post is amazing, I may try use these tonight in conversation. 'These Brighton hipsters are rather fungible, aren't they? One gets a beard and suddenly all of them have one.'

    I love getting the word of the day from, yesterday's was:

    "poetaster \POH-it-as-ter\, noun:

    an inferior poet; a writer of indifferent verse.

    Someone who writes verses but does not produce this essence is called a "poetaster." A poetaster is a fraudulent poet, a non-poet.
    -- Frederick Busch, Letters to a Fiction Writer, 2000

    Rotten as a poetaster or a second-rate musician reduced to beggary.
    -- Carmen Boullosa, Cleopatra Dismounts, 2003

    Poetaster entered English in the late 1500s. It is a combination of the word poet and the rarely used Latin suffix -aster which denotes something that imperfectly resembles or mimics the true thing."

    1. LOL I love your use of the word fungible! And, thanks for the info on poetaster. Such an odd word to pronounce but I love the definition.

  5. Same, redound caught me with rebound there. Fungible's one heck of a word. Makes total sense but, wow...


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