Thursday, January 31, 2013

Vocab Builder: J

Vocab Builder: J
Vocab Builder: J. Image logo created by me.
Welcome to the tenth of the Vocab Builder series. Last time we covered the letter I. This week, for those not following the pattern, we will look at the letter J.

A strong vocabulary allows you to select the precise word for what your trying to say.Whether you make jardinières, or are a jeunesse dorée you should have a strong vocabulary suited to your situation.

It has been commented that it is all very well knowing these words but one mustn't show off vocabulary for the sake of it. Remember if you want to use these words make sure you are using them correctly and because they are the right word for the job. Let's start:


Meaning:  an ornamental stand for flowers
or             a garnish made of cooked pieced vegetables used for meat

Sentence:  The orcs may be a feared race, but they were partial to jardinières on their human meat stew.

Origin:  Old French. Jardin means garden, jardinière means female gardener

Discussion:  As I always warn with words that come from foreign languages, unless it is commonly used in the English language using it in fantasy may not be a good idea. If you decide it can be used in your piece then be sure it is obvious which of its two meanings is the version you are using.


Meaning:  a long or mournful lament/complaint

Sentence:  The elf spoke a jeremiad about the long war tearing apart the three nations.

Origin:  French. Jérémiade is French from the name Jérémie (Jeremiah) which itself comes from the Latin Jeremias which appears in the Bible, Old Testement.

Discussion:  Previous to August the 23rd when jeremiad appeared in the 365 New Words a Year calendar last year I had never heard of the word. Be sure it fits your story before putting it in; if you are writing childrens', young adult, or any form of writing where you do not want either uncommon or biblical words best steer away from this. However, if this suits your character put it in.

jeunesse dorée

Meaning:  young wealthy and fashionable people

Sentence:  The giantess girls considered themselves among the jeunesse dorée of the humans, though they tended to get unusual looks when they wore short skirts.

Origin:  French. The phrase literally means 'gilded youth'.

Discussion: This phrase has seen a small, but steady increase in English language books since the 1990s, but in fiction this has been far slower and has seen a very small decrease in recent years. This does have a very specific definition and does bring a fair bit of expectation with it. Use with caution.

So there you go:  Three words beginning with J. Not surprisingly the letter J doesn't have many entries in the 365 New Words a Year calendar and all three have French origins.

Please post in the comments below. Perhaps have a go at using all 3 words or discuss the 'J' words further. Can you think of any good 'J' words? I'd love to here your views on the conspiracies mentioned. If you found this post interesting or useful please share it using the social media tools below or send links to people you think may be interested.

Matt B


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