Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy @ Bermudaonion weblog where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.  If you want to play along, grab the button, and join the fun!  (Don’t forget to leave a link in the comments if you’re participating.)



Today’s words are from Picking Bones from Ash by Marie Mutsuki Mockett. I’ve had a run of books with a lot of either foreign words or slang in them that has kept me going for the dictionary over and over.  Either that or there are words used in either art or music. This book had all three-Japanese, music, and art terms. I could fill a very large dictionary with the words I had to look up. Here are a few:

Koto and Shamisen – “Nothing like the fine koto or shamisen I used to play”

Both are stringed musical instruments. A shamisen has three strings and a koto has thirteen strings.







Murahachibu – “”Excuse me,” one of the women finally said , “this bath is not for murahachibu.”

Murahachibu is a type of shunning to try to force someone out of the community. I assume it used here to meaning the person who is shunned.

Arrondissement – “I lived in the 14th arrondissement at the very top of a curlicued prewar building with a view of the Eiffel Tower.

Oh yeah, I forgot this book has French in it too. I swear if it wasn’t for the internet I may not have known what was going on it this story. Anyway, arrondissement roughly translates to district.

Étude – “There were scale books and étude books and photos and old certificates from music contests.”

Étude is a musical composition of considerable difficulty. Étude is also a French word for study.

Emma – “Akira explained to me that this was an old emma, or Shinto charm.”

Okay, so the sentence explained the word. But, I had to add this because my daughter’s name is Emma.

What did you find yourself looking up this week?