Remember all those great writing prompts I used to publish? Daily Post discontinued the prompts (much to my sadness), but that doesn’t mean I haven’t stopped looking for words that pique my interest to create my own prompts!
For me, finding a word I’ve never heard before, either because what I’m reading is a period piece (or the writer just has a way with words) is a learning experience for me. For instance, I spotted the word Majordomo in one of my Beauty and the Beast novels. It was a word I swore I hadn’t heard in either movie, so naturally, I looked it up.
I just started reading Christina Crawford’s biographical novel about growing up the daughter of Joan Crawford, Mommie Dearest. I’ve been trying to get my hands on this book for years, with little success (print copies too expensive on Amazon by the time I’d switched to an eReader format, and it wasn’t available there until 2017), but the story starts early in Christina’s life (she was born in 1939), so I spotted a few words I wasn’t familiar with. Specifically, I spotted the word perambulator.
What the heck is a perambulator?
“Ambulator” means one who walks. Easy enough. This is the British version of the word.
A perambulator, it turns out, is the British word for baby carriage or pram.
In the United states, this word means “a machine, similar to an odometer, for measuring distances by means of a large wheel pushed along the ground by a long handle, with a mechanism for recording the revolutions.”
I gathered that because of Christina’s age at that part of the story, she was in a stroller, but the use of such an eloquent word was an interesting choice (she wrote the original version of Mommie Dearest in 1978, so there were obviously more modern words to use).
I don’t think this is going to be the last time I spot a word in this novel I don’t know.