9 Words I Learned while Reading Middlemarch

DOne of the best parts of reading an e-book is that anytime I come across a word I don’t know, I simply tap the word and see the definition.

This doesn’t happen all that often.

But George Eliot clearly knew a lot of words I don’t use. She sent me to the dictionary a dozen times.

Most of these unfamiliar words have fallen out of use since the 1800s, so I suppose I have an excuse for my ignorance.

Here are 9 words I don’t remember knowing before I read Middlemarch:

Jackanapes. Noun: an impertinent person or a tame monkey. Applied to a person whose behavior resembled that of an ape.

Sedulously. Adverb: zealous.

Dithyrambs. Noun: a wild choral hymn of ancient Greece or a passionate or inflated speech or poem.

Postilion. Noun: the person who rides the leading left-hand horse or a team when there is no coachman.

Asservation. Noun: the solemn or emphatic definition or statement of something.

Energumen. Noun: a person believed to be possessed by the devil.

Pertubation.  Noun: anxiety, mental unease.

Somnambulist. Noun: a sleepwalker. (I may have heard this one before as it is vaguely familiar, but I certainly don’t use it myself).

Recherchy. Adjective: Exotic, rare, or overblown.

I did recognize a few dozen other words that have fallen out of use and perhaps shouldn’t have: dastard, burthen, dowager, fop, for example.

But hats off to you Ms. Eliot and your use of the entire dictionary.


Books Mentioned in this Post:

Middlemarch by George Eliot

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