Vocab Builder: More Tinkering

A few weeks ago, I looked at some words from Paul Harding’s Tinkers. Harding’s writing is lush and vibrant, offering vocabulary enthusiasts something worth studying. Today, we continue on our journey through Tinkers.

  • Craquelure: the pattern of fine cracks, usually in a painting.

So buy the gold, warm it with your skin, slip it onto your lap when you are sitting by the fire and all you will otherwise have to look at is your splintery husband gumming chew or the craquelure of your own chapped hands.

  • Scrieve: to glide swiftly.

Skin like glass like liquid like skin; our words scrieved the slick surface (reflecting risen moon, spinning stars, flitting bats), so that we had only to whisper across the wide plate.

  • Wattle: fleshy skin that hangs from the neck, especially of a chicken or turkey.

Then came George’s wattle, the loose bag of skin between the underside of his chin and his neck, with short, light strokes. Sam pulled it tight this way and that and gingerly scraped the razor over George’s soft skin.

  • Freshet: the overflow or flooding of a stream because of heavy rains or snow melt.

He resisted the desire to stop the wagon and give Prince Edward an apple and crawl into the shadows and sit quietyly and become a part of the slow freshet of night, or to stop the wagon and simply remain on the bench and watch the shadows approach and pool around the wagon wheels and Prince Edward’s hooves and eventually reach the soles of his shoes and then his ankles, until mule, cart, and man were submerged in the flood tide of night.

  • Loosestrife: one of several tall plants of the genus Lythrum, which has small yellow, white, or purple flowers:

    Purple Loosestrife at Lily Hill Park (Liz) / CC BY-SA 2.0

There was a bank of loosestrife in the crabgrass and clover across the lawn, between the porch and the verge of the road.

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About Erin Brenner

With a BA and an MA in English, Erin has been an editing professional for 15 years, working on a variety of media, especially online. Her niche is business/marketing and online. In addition, she has experience teaching editing to non-editors and coaching writers. In 2008, Erin was bitten by the social media bug...hard. Follow her on Twitter, @ebrenner, and get a daily vocabulary word, a link to the article of the day, and much more. You can also find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.
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