Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by Bermudaonion’s Weblog. Kathy says: “Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.”
In the past few ragweed-pollen infused days, I read the two easiest books on my TBR stack and managed to find a new word in each of them. Just goes to show that even the most fun novels can teach something.
The first came from Nowhere Near Respectable by Mary Jo Putney on page 266:
“Who attacked you?”
“They were sent by the flash cove.”
From context, I eventually figured out that the flash cove was a person, but not much more than that. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, flash is an adjective “Connected with or pertaining to the class of thieves, tramps, and prostitutes” usually used in combination with other words to make phrases describing places and people in that world. The OED cites Pierce Egan · Grose’s classical dictionary of the vulgar tongue · 1823 for this definition:
Flash Cove or Covess, the master or mistress of the house.
It took a bit of hunting to find this site with a further relevant definition: Modern Flash Dictionary (1835): From the Evolving English Exhibit at the British Library. According, apparently, to the text accompanying the exhibit of this pamphlet, “a fashionable man-about-town was commonly referred to as a flash cove and the meaning survives today in the phrase ‘flash Harry’. ” The actual dictionary which, I learned from a comment to the above post, has been scanned into Google Books has a slightly different definition that fits better with the way it is used in Nowhere Near Respectable:
Flash Cove, the keeper of a place for the reception of stolen goods.
My second word of the week came from All-American Girl by Meg Cabot and was defined in the text on page 92, so I didn’t have to do near as much searching to learn the meaning of frisson:
“I detected a frisson.”
Lucy and I both looked at her like she was crazy. “A what?”
“A frisson,” Rebecca said. “A tremor of intense attraction. I detected one between you and David last night.”