Image courtesy of  Wikipedia .

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Smell and memory go hand-in-hand. Studies have shown that the olfactory nerve can recall vivid and emotionally charged memories. One reporter discusses it here (full disclosure: I didn't actually read this article, just linked it because it seemed like it made my point; if it doesn't, disregard it). Redolent unites the twin themes of smell and memory.  

A redolent odor brings with it not merely overpowering smell, but it recreates and re-fires the synapses of the brain in which memories await for that perfect smell to bring it all back. For me, leather and the dank, dusty smell of old shops carry redolent odors; in less than a moment after sensing the smell, I'm running through the old, dark concrete hallways, layered in decaying carpet my uncle picked up from the side of the road to outfit his boot shop. Those memories count among the most fond of my childhood. 

The Latin history of the word seems to bear out the English meaning: re(d)-olere. Merriam-Webster reports that olere is "to smell." I'm making a guess here (because my Latin was never very good), but "re-" seems like it might be "again." Ergo, to smell again. Redolent.

Unlike "verdure," I've lost track of where I collected this word. But here it is, for your enjoyment.

From Merriam-Webster:

1. having a strong smell : full of a fragrance or odor

2. causing thoughts or memories of something

Sample sentences:

1. The fragrant citrus plugins spread throughout the room effused an odor redolent of the rotting oranges her grandmother used to keep on her table and foist upon her unsuspecting grandchildren to keep the fruit from being wasted—soft to the point of mushy, sweet to the point of sickness. 

2. The redolent red roses arose in amorous splendor from the tangled hedges, their odor hiding the darker scent of rotting flesh.

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You almost have to spit it while using a French pout: ver-jer. No wonder, for I found the word hiding in a French classic by Emile Zola, Abbe Mouret's Transgression. The word sounds pretentious; it probably is. People expect pretentious words from word lovers, so I decided not to disappoint with my first entry from my word collection. Verdure. 

The verdure of the Big Thicket, a naturally green and lively area of Texas not far from me.

The verdure of the Big Thicket, a naturally green and lively area of Texas not far from me.

As you see from Merriam-Webster below, it describes the greenness of the plant. It can also describe the plants themselves. Right now in Texas, we're beginning to lose our verdure, an indicator of death and decay. So, verdure can also indicate health and vitality. When Zola uses the word, it's often to contrast the lively garden Paradou with the rocky, barren wasteland in which it sits as an oasis. 

It reminds me of verdant pastures and sheep, perhaps also part of the reason I chose it for today. Regardless, I hope you have some fun with it. Enjoy.

From Merriam-Webster:

1. the greenness of growing vegetation; also: such vegetation itself

2. condition of health and vigor

One of Zola's sentences: 

And there he lived, facing southwards, with his back turned upon the Paradou, as if unaware of the immensity of verdure that stretched away behind him.

Zola, Emile (2013-11-10). The Complete Rougon-Macquart Cycle (All 20 Unabridged Novels in one volume) (Kindle Locations 24170-24171). e-artnow. Kindle Edition. 

Sample sentences of my own:

  1. They carried the invalid boy to the fields every day, but the verdure of the landscape mocked his pallid and greying tones.
  2. He strutted, a lively walk echoed in crack of his cane upon the path, a path bordered on one side by a field of grass and on the other by a luscious forest, both sides a verdurous riot of life. 

How would you use "verdure" in a sentence?

A sentence from Ryan Ogrodowicz (pronounced O-grow-DOE-veech): 

"The lack of possessing a creative, verduous writing style and ability is evidenced in struggles to incorporate rare words in a measly sentence."

Always the comedian, dear Ryan is.


Anyone else want to give it a try?

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A Lover of Words

Pastors should be philologists, and I don't mean in the technical sense but the etymological sense. They should love words (philo "love" and logos "word"). Pastors often love to read; they love to write. Some pastors especially love the words erupting from their own mouths. Pastors tend toward loquacity. Pastors should be philologists.  

The task of becoming a philologist requires collecting words. I've recently begun collecting them. Collecting words differs from hoarding them. A collector treasures each and every item in his collection. He often has stories for many of the items; he parts with a piece of the collection cautiously. Often times, a collector will return again and again to the same item, learning and treasuring each of its facets. A hoarder doesn't care about the items; he merely cares for the number of items, the quantity. For the hoarder, one piece carries has the same value as any other; he can exchange them without loss. The hoarder willingly trades one valuable item for two or three or ten cheap items. 

The comparison might take a romp through the worlds of fantasy and look at the differences between dwarves and dragons. The dwarf searches for jewels and precious metals to fashion them into things of beauty. The dragon merely collects treasure to sleep upon it.  

A Romanian cellar door, courtesy of Wikipedia

I've begun to collect words, not hoard them. Collecting words means learning about them, studying their past and dreaming of their future. Collecting words means having them at the ready for just the precise moment they're needed, not merely a vocabulary list to be memorized and regurgitated for the SAT exam. Some words I know well, but I collect them to know them better. Some words sit in my collection merely because they fascinate me; I can't say why. J. R. R. Tolkien, a true philologist in every sense of the word, loved the words "cellar door." It had a beauty to him. So also many in my collection. 

My collection is in a Field Notes brand notebook. It's a handy pocket notebook, but it's not the only one. There are some like this one or that one. They have enough space to collect one word per page: a space for the word, a definition, where I found it, and some examples of how to use it.  

I've enjoyed collecting words so much that I'm going to share my collection with you—and get some from you, dear readers. So, grab a pen, a notebook, and start collecting. Take any words from here that you like, and share some of your own. If you've got a word to share, email it to me, and, if you include permission to use it, I'll post it here. Include the essentials: the word, the definition, where you found it, and some examples of how to use it.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for sharing and collecting words with me.