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.)

This week’s words are from The Mapping of Love and Death, 7th in the Maisie Dobbs series by Jaqueline Winspear. I’ve mentioned (over and over again) how much I love this series, especially learning all the new slang and this time out I learn new words dealing with cartography-which I found really fascinating.

Octant, Graphometer, Waywiser, and Theodolite “One by one he took each piece and wrapped it carefully with linen and sackcloth: an octant, a graphometer, the surveyor’s compass–a gift from his parents when he completed his studies–a waywiser, theodolite, and tripod.”

An octant is an instrument having an arc of 24°, used by navigators for measuring angles up to 90°.

A graphometer is a semicircle tool for measuring angles.

A waywiser an instrument for measuring the distance which one has traveled on the road; an odometer, pedometer, or perambulator.

A theodolite an optical instrument consisting of a small mounted telescope rotatable in horizontal and vertical planes, used to measure angles in surveying, meteorology, and navigation.




Foxed – “Again, some of the pages are fused with damp, and foxed with age, but we have read a few paragraphs.”

I’ve never heard this word used in this way, foxed means discolored with brown spots.

Come a cropper – “Are you all right? You almost came a cropper.”

The term came a cropper means taking a bad fall.

Cooties – “That’s a stupid question, when you’ve got “cooties” running along the seams of your shirt and driving you crazy.”

Okay, I know what cooties means but I had no idea that it was an English slang word, I always thought it was American. The things you learn.

Tic-tac man – “The tic-tac man were already busy taking bets, and James had been accurate in his description of the atmosphere.”

Well, tic-tac man is obvious a bookmaker but I liked the sound of this one.

Chuffed – “His dad must have been right chuffed, you know, finally getting the son and heir, after having two daughters.”

Chuffed means very pleased or happy with yourself.

I really do love learning all this British slang. I don’t know how modern it is but I still love it and would like to use it.

What new words did you learn this week?