Why the Chiaroscuro listing? Em, well, I still believe (probably misguidedly) that Ms. Hambly uses the word in every story (even though she's told me, basically, "Hey, look, it's just a word, stop obsessing over this!"). I cannot completely support my claim, although the following sightings are documented:First off, in the Windrose Chronicles, chiaroscuro appears: The Silent Tower: p.115, p.148
The Silicon Mage: p.116, p.192
Dog Wizard: p.116 The p.115/116 trio seemed a little too coincidental for me (but fun). It appears in other books, too: The Armies of Daylight: p.201
The Magicians of Night: p.309
The Dark Hand of Magic: p.31 (thanks to Lisa Crowe for this one)
The Witches of Wenshar: p. 273 (many thanks to Robin Lloyd for this one - and also for admitting that she could see how an obsession such as this starts!)
Crossroad: p.76 (sent in by Steve Mollmann, much appreciated!)
Bride of the Rat God p.71 (many thanks to Jula Thunert for this sighting!)
Eventually this list expanded, and to date, I have collected:
- Interplay, variety, or contrast of light and dark. Use of marked light and shade contrasts for dramatic effect in art. A hallmark of baroque paintings is this dramatic interplay of light and dark to create tension, drama, or excitement.
From the Italian chiaro, light and oscuro, dark.
- Parchment or other writing material erased and written on again, or the writing found under the second (or third) addition. Also used to describe memorial brasses which have been turned round and engraved on the opposite side (so much for respect for the dead).
From the Greek palimpestos, scraped again. This was another one that I took a fancy to. It can be found on p.276, Armies of Daylight, Dragonstar on page 83, Sisters of the Raven - thanks to Sunhound for that one - page 291 of Children of the Jedi - thanks Inga!, and on page 330 of Knight of the Demon Queen (thanks, Lebannen!).
- Having the appearance of truth.
From the Latin veritas, or truth, and similarus; similar. Found in the Windrose Chronicles
- Related to body reaction or motor memory; muscle sense or the remembered sensory experience.
From the Greek kinesthesia and kinesis, motion) Found in the Windrose Chronicles
- Chitin is a white or colorless substance used to form the hard outer integument (outer "skeleton") of an invertebrate. It is a polysaccharide similar to cellulose, but made out of a different repeating component. From The Darwath Trilogy, thank you, Liz Sherwin
- A derivative of porphin, which emits a red fluorescence in UV light. A dye or coloring agent, or the color itself. Also, Porphyry was a 3rd century AD Greek philosopher who created a diagrammatic representation of the highest being into successive dichotomies.
From the Greek porphyra, purple. Found The Darwath Trilogy, thank you, Liz Sherwin
- Gloomy, as in a look, or an aspect of weather (the sky).
From the Middle English lour, also spelled as lower. Compliments of Sharron Phillips
- Distinguished by marking, apart from others.
From the Greek diakritikos, separative. First page of Mother of Winter - from Wendy Richards
- A man who is aware of and submits to his wife's adultery. Also a person with little sense or perception.
From the Middle English wetewold, be aware. From Lisa Crowe, found at the beginning of Chapter 2, The Dark Hand of Magic
- To make up or paint one's face.
From the French maquiller. From p.90, The Dark Hand of Magic (thanks again to Lisa Crowe)
- Dull brownish-yellow, tawny.
From the Latin fulvus or flavus, yellow Thanks to Leigh Deacon, who found this on p.341, The Silent Tower and p.242, The Silicon Mage.
- Marked by beauty.
From the Latin pulchritudo, beautiful. From the Sun Cross books. Thanks to Azar Rejaie for this one, and someone else who didn't send their name for pointing out that I'd spelled it wrong.
- Otherworldly, strange, fairylike.
From the Old English aelfrice,elf-kingdom or fairyland. Also related to OE rice, powerful). From the Darwath books. Thank you, DJD, for sending this one.
- Onychogryphosis is a condition of the nails characterized by marked hypertrophy (increased growth) and greater curvature of the nails. Quasi, or course, means partially or almost.
From the Greek onychion, little claw and onychium fingernail. From p. 102 of Traveling with the Dead. Thank you, Fearthainn, for what is currently the longest nifty word on this list.
- A whispering, rustling, or murmuring, low sounds.
From the Latin susurrare, to whisper. From The Windrose Chronicles and Dragonstar p.144) This one comes from Elizabeth McCoy, and is the first new nifty word for a long time.
- Questioning someone with a view to testing or examining the cogency or credibility of what they have said. Such questioning was wholly central to Socrates method of examination.
Greek. From Dog Wizard, p.65. Claudia Wouden sent this one in, and I agree, it's great.
- Ornate or florid in melody. The prolongation of one syllable over a number of notes during a song. The melisma is a feature of eighteenth-century vocal music, often used merely for display purposes but also descriptively and for emotional expression.
From the Greek, pertaining to a song or air From Die Upon a Kiss and sent in by Louiz Hutchings. I love this word.
- Something given over and above what is earned, a gratuity or a little extra gift.
Louisiana French, from the Spanish la napa, which was taken from the Kechuan Indian word yapa. Thanks to Bill Bryson for his reference to this Indian-to-Spanish-to-French-to-American etymology. This one comes from A Free Man of Color and the Darwath books, and was sent in by Beth Jordan.
- A kind of quilting in which only the design is padded.
From the Italian trapunto, to embroider, and the Latin trapunto meaning "to prick with a needle." In American quilting, it is also known as "stuffed work." The style originated around the 14th century, in Sicily, and was popular in Tudor England (for more information, see this informative page.) Comes from Witches of Wenshar p. 138 and Dragonstar p. 115), suggested by Will Lyman.
- Slanting or oblique
A colloquialistic word originating in the United States; the "-indicular" suffix is derived from the word "perpendicular". Submitted by Karen and found in Fever Season.
- A man who devotes himself to attendance upon a lady - a recognized gallant or cavalier servente of a married woman. Also, the knot of ribbon fastened to a sword-hilt or walking-staff which might be used as decoration by such a man.
"Which hovers oft about some married beauties..." -Byron.
From either the Italian bel cece - beautiful chick-pea, or the French chiche beau for the same. From Dragonsbane (p.109). Thanks to Lebannen Luitreath, whose great name I orginally forgot, for this one!
You, too, can submit a word to the Nifty Word List. The criteria are simple but biased: I have to be unfamiliar with the word and find it aesthetically pleasing.