Category Archives: vocabulary

Expanding my English

Sometimes I despair of being truly fluent in any language, including my native tongue. There are always words, phrases, colloquialisms that are new or old or just different.

Recently discovered words:

kapok, meaning the silky down that invests the seeds of a silk-cotton tree (kapok tree), Ceiba pentandra, of the East Indies, Africa, and tropical America: used for stuffing pillows, life jackets, etc., and for acoustical insulation.

Discovered via the crossword puzzle — it was spelled by default when I filled in the surrounding words, and I had to look it up to see if it was real.

hustings: (before 1872) the temporary platform on which candidates for the British Parliament stood when nominated and from which they addressed the electors

A character in a novel was standing near the hustings, and I couldn’t set the scene in my mind until I learned what that mean.

sador: a stringed Indian instrument.

Another crossword discovery. I wanted to wedge “sitar” in that spot, but the surrounding words didn’t make sense if I did so.

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