WORD LISTS

50 Great Words from The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party, by M.T. Anderson

June 4, 2012
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gaunt
I was told that the hair for my wigs, and for my mother’s--for she too was shaved and wore white wigs, though hers were towering and marked with jet-black ribbons—that this hair came from a pensioners’ home in Prague, where hair was farmed in exchange for soup and bread.
bough
I recall, in the orchard behind the house, orbs of flame rising through the black boughs and branches; they climbed, spirituous, and flickered out; my mother squeezed my hand with delight.
chamber
We stood near the door to the ice-chamber.
clad
By the well, servants lit bubbles of gas on fire, clad in frockcoats of asbestos.
design
Around the orchard and gardens stood a wall of some height, designed to repel the glance of idle curiosity and to keep us all from slipping away and running for freedom; though that, of course, I did not yet understand.
repel
Around the orchard and gardens stood a wall of some height, designed to repel the glance of idle curiosity and to keep us all from slipping away and running for freedom; though that, of course, I did not yet understand.
idle
Around the orchard and gardens stood a wall of some height, designed to repel the glance of idle curiosity and to keep us all from slipping away and running for freedom; though that, of course, I did not yet understand.
trace
The men who raised me were lords of matter, and in the dim chambers I watched as they traced the spinning of bodies celestial in vast, iron courses, and bid sparks to dance upon their hands; they read the bodies of fish as if each dying trout or shad was a fresh Biblical Testament, the wet and twitching volume of a new-born Pentateuch.
celestial
The men who raised me were lords of matter, and in the dim chambers I watched as they traced the spinning of bodies celestial in vast, iron courses, and bid sparks to dance upon their hands; they read the bodies of fish as if each dying trout or shad was a fresh Biblical Testament, the wet and twitching volume of a new-born Pentateuch.
vast
The men who raised me were lords of matter, and in the dim chambers I watched as they traced the spinning of bodies celestial in vast, iron courses, and bid sparks to dance upon their hands; they read the bodies of fish as if each dying trout or shad was a fresh Biblical Testament, the wet and twitching volume of a new-born Pentateuch.
dissect
They burned holes in the air, wrote poems of love, sucked the venom from sores, painted landscapes of gloom, and made metal sing; they dissected fire like newts.
marvel
I did not find it strange that I was raised with no one father, nor did I marvel at the singularity of any other article in my upbringing.
article
I did not find it strange that I was raised with no one father, nor did I marvel at the singularity of any other article in my upbringing.
property
Most were philosophers, and inquired into the workings of time and memory, natural history, the properties of light, heat, and petrifaction.
commodious
The house was large and commodious, though often drafty.
compound
They combined chemical compounds and stirred them.
coax
They coaxed reptiles with mice.
jest
They meant it doubtless as a jest, but to me, the door was terrible, as ghastly in its secrets as legendary Bluebeard’s door, behind which his dead, white wives sat at table, streaked with blood from their slit throats.
ghastly
They meant it doubtless as a jest, but to me, the door was terrible, as ghastly in its secrets as legendary Bluebeard’s door, behind which his dead, white wives sat at table, streaked with blood from their slit throats.
venture
We did not venture much out of the house and its grounds into the city that surrounded us.
bustle
In the garden, we could hear its bustle, the horseshoes on stone cobbles and dirt, the conversation of sailors, the crying of onions and oysters in passageways.
profound
The men of that house feared that too much interaction with the world would corrupt me, and so I was, in the main, hidden away for my earliest years, as the in fact Jove, snatched out of the gullet of Time, was reared by his horned nurse on Mount Ida in profoundest secrecy.
solemn
I imagine that I was a silent and solemn child – as solemn as my mother was smiling and gay.
extravagant
Such wigs could not have been inexpensive; but they were simply one of the extravagant customs of that place, and I found them unsurprising.
parlance
In the parlance of that house, the mater, Mr. Gitney, was called 03-01 because he was the head (and so 01) of the third family enumerated (that is, the Gitneys).
enumerate
In the parlance of that house, the mater, Mr. Gitney, was called 03-01 because he was the head (and so 01) of the third family enumerated (that is, the Gitneys).
rationalize
He was attempting to introduce a numerical system of naming, with the idea that it would rationalize human relations. 01-01, therefore, was our glorious majesty the King – the initial or signifying His Majesty’s family, the House of Hanover.
initial
He was attempting to introduce a numerical system of naming, with the idea that it would rationalize human relations. 01-01, therefore, was our glorious majesty the King – the initial or signifying His Majesty’s family, the House of Hanover.
signify
He was attempting to introduce a numerical system of naming, with the idea that it would rationalize human relations. 01-01, therefore, was our glorious majesty the King – the initial or signifying His Majesty’s family, the House of Hanover.
patronage
The Queen was 01-02; George Augustus Frederick, Prince of Wales, 01-03; and so on. 02-01 was His Lordship the Earl of Cheldthorpe, a very Maecenas whose generous patronage allowed our household its investigations, and whose portrait hung, stained yellow from flares and exudations, in one of the experimental chambers.
investigation
The Queen was 01-02; George Augustus Frederick, Prince of Wales, 01-03; and so on. 02-01 was His Lordship the Earl of Cheldthorpe, a very Maecenas whose generous patronage allowed our household its investigations, and whose portrait hung, stained yellow from flares and exudations, in one of the experimental chambers.
perceived
In the years as I grew, my mother must have perceived the peculiarity of our situation; but though she may have noted, she did not discover its irregularities to me by word, look, or gesture.
reckon
Or, by God – I reckon now, now that it is all gone – yea – mayhap she did discover it to me, in every gesture, in all looks, in the space between each word – and I , never knowing her elsewhere, did not know how to parse her warnings and subtility.
radiant
Would it have been the one I know as hers – the which I saw slow-spreading across her soft and radiant features to greet each gentleman who attended our musical soirees, of an evening?
gentry
(For when the gentry would gather to hear her play upon the harpsichord, and hear me, no taller than her waist, play upon the violin, she smiled upon each and every one of them as they watched, wigged and fingering their canes.)
exile
I did not ask why we were not numbered, as the others were; I suspected that it was due to my mother’s royal blood—for I was told from my earliest youth that she was a princess in her own kingdom, could she but get back to it from her exile.
bearing
In her bearing, she was still a queen.
lucidity
They called themselves the Novanglian College of Lucidity, and devoted themselves to divining the secrets of the universe, so praising the Creator, who had with infinite art manufactured such a dazzling apparatus; and each investigation into the incubation of tern-eggs or the mystery of sediment was but an ear pressed to the mechanism, the better to hear the click of gears, the swiveling of stars on cog and ambulating cam.
manufacture
They called themselves the Novanglian College of Lucidity, and devoted themselves to divining the secrets of the universe, so praising the Creator, who had with infinite art manufactured such a dazzling apparatus; and each investigation into the incubation of tern-eggs or the mystery of sediment was but an ear pressed to the mechanism, the better to hear the click of gears, the swiveling of stars on cog and ambulating cam.
sediment
They called themselves the Novanglian College of Lucidity, and devoted themselves to divining the secrets of the universe, so praising the Creator, who had with infinite art manufactured such a dazzling apparatus; and each investigation into the incubation of tern-eggs or the mystery of sediment was but an ear pressed to the mechanism, the better to hear the click of gears, the swiveling of stars on cog and ambulating cam.
mechanism
They called themselves the Novanglian College of Lucidity, and devoted themselves to divining the secrets of the universe, so praising the Creator, who had with infinite art manufactured such a dazzling apparatus; and each investigation into the incubation of tern-eggs or the mystery of sediment was but an ear pressed to the mechanism, the better to hear the click of gears, the swiveling of stars on cog and ambulating cam.
gear
They called themselves the Novanglian College of Lucidity, and devoted themselves to divining the secrets of the universe, so praising the Creator, who had with infinite art manufactured such a dazzling apparatus; and each investigation into the incubation of tern-eggs or the mystery of sediment was but an ear pressed to the mechanism, the better to hear the click of gears, the swiveling of stars on cog and ambulating cam.
swivel
They called themselves the Novanglian College of Lucidity, and devoted themselves to divining the secrets of the universe, so praising the Creator, who had with infinite art manufactured such a dazzling apparatus; and each investigation into the incubation of tern-eggs or the mystery of sediment was but an ear pressed to the mechanism, the better to hear the click of gears, the swiveling of stars on cog and ambulating cam.
cog
They called themselves the Novanglian College of Lucidity, and devoted themselves to divining the secrets of the universe, so praising the Creator, who had with infinite art manufactured such a dazzling apparatus; and each investigation into the incubation of tern-eggs or the mystery of sediment was but an ear pressed to the mechanism, the better to hear the click of gears, the swiveling of stars on cog and ambulating cam.
strict
I was taught not merely the arts and knowledge of the physical world, but was given the strictest instruction in ethics, schooled in those virtues that must ever enflame each Christian hearth: kindness, filial duty, piety, obedience, and humility.
ethics
I was taught not merely the arts and knowledge of the physical world, but was given the strictest instruction in ethics, schooled in those virtues that must ever enflame each Christian hearth: kindness, filial duty, piety, obedience, and humility.
virtue
I was taught not merely the arts and knowledge of the physical world, but was given the strictest instruction in ethics, schooled in those virtues that must ever enflame each Christian hearth: kindness, filial duty, piety, obedience, and humility.
filial
I was taught not merely the arts and knowledge of the physical world, but was given the strictest instruction in ethics, schooled in those virtues that must ever enflame each Christian hearth: kindness, filial duty, piety, obedience, and humility.
piety
I was taught not merely the arts and knowledge of the physical world, but was given the strictest instruction in ethics, schooled in those virtues that must ever enflame each Christian hearth: kindness, filial duty, piety, obedience, and humility.
humility
I was taught not merely the arts and knowledge of the physical world, but was given the strictest instruction in ethics, schooled in those virtues that must ever enflame each Christian hearth: kindness, filial duty, piety, obedience, and humility.

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