Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday 32

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy at the Bermuda Onion where you "can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. Feel free to get creative!"
More pot luck words from the past week ...

From The Empire of Tea by Alan and Iris Macfarlane :  

The women lounged in deckchairs on the ship or sat sidesaddle on shiny horses, floppy hats replaced by solar topees

Solar topee is another word for pith helmet! According to Wikipedia
From the Hindi sola or shola, the name of a plant, and topi, a hat. The spelling "solar" probably rises from misunderstanding shola as the English solar.

Lord and Lady Curzon. Lord George Curzon was Viceroy of India from 1898 to 1905
and a fervent champion of British imperial interests.
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We lived in white bungalows around which grew marigolds, petunias and scarlet salvias (I have disliked these ever since) 

scarlet salvia aka scarlet sage (Salvia splendens)

The fiery scarlet sage (Salvia splendens) can be found throughout India. (Source)

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which was something of a pity since 'box wallahs' were almost hoi polloi in my family's vocabulary.

box wallah  \ˈbäkˌswälə\
:  peddler
:  (derogatory) an itinerant pedlar or salesman in India
Origi: Hindi bakswālā, from English 2box + Hindi -wālā man

wallah /ˈwälə/
[in combination or with modifier] Indian or informal
1A:  person concerned or involved with a specified thing or business: ice cream wallahs
1.1A:  native or inhabitant of a specified place: Bombay wallahs 
Origin: the Hindi suffix -vālā 'doer' (commonly interpreted in the sense 'fellow'), from Sanskrit pālaka 'keeper'.
dabbawallah: a person in India, most commonly in Mumbai, who is part of a delivery system that collects hot food in lunch boxes from the residences of workers in the late morning, delivers the lunches to the workplace

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Oh and one other one from a difference book ...

... a mantle supported by winged caryatids that appeared more Greek than Egyptian, a distinctly Chinese screen, and an oppressive number of ornately carved tables. 

caryatid \ˌker-ē-ˈa-təd, ˌka-rē-; ˈker-ē-ə-ˌtid, ˈka-rē-\
plural cary·at·ids or cary·at·ides
Origin: Latin caryatides, plural, from Greek karyatides priestesses of Artemis at Caryae, caryatids, from Karyai Caryae in Laconia. First Known Use: 1563
Image of Porch of the Caryatids which is part of the Erechtheum at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.


  1. I have come across topi and guessed that this was a different spelling combined with solar for sun, I would never have guessed it meant pith helmet! I know of the word wallah but 'box' wallah is new. The last two words are brand new for me.

  2. I knew a few of those words - salvia grows well here - but solar topee is new to me. I love the way it sounds! I want to buy a pith helmet now just so I can call it my solar topee.

  3. Solar topee takes the cake! I would never have guessed its meaning. :)
    A very enjoyable, informative post!

  4. Interesting words today, liked solar topee.

  5. Very good words today. I've grown blue salvia but I like the red ones. Thanks also for all the pictures. They sure help learning.


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