Versimilitude in Chatoyant Petrichor: Wednesday Wordage

No matter how many of these posts I do, there never seems to be an end to the words I discover. I’m beginning to wonder if the English language is infinite! Well, in some ways I suppose it is. With new words being added to the dictionary all the time, the only language-limiting factor seems to be time. While some of the more recent additions don’t particularly fit into the theme of Wednesday Wordage – twerk and selfie being the pertinent examples – I’m sure that more incredibly, needlessly, horrifically complicated words are on their way.

In fact, the first word on this list is incredibly, needlessly, horrifically complicated. Not to mention that it focuses on a very specific definition (of course), but isn’t that what we’re here for?


Say: /Sha-toy-ant/    Adjective

This is one of those words that you may ever only use once or twice unless you work in gemology.

  1. Showing a band of bright lustre caused by reflection from inclusions in the stone.

Chatoyancy noun. Chatoyance noun. 

In a sentence, it may look like this

‘The gemologist rolled the tiger-eye quartz around the palm of his hand and observed the striations in the stone. It had a beautiful chatoyance.’

-Origin: French, present participle of chatoyer ‘to shimmer’.

Synonyms: Gleam, lustrous, shimmer

Antonyms: dull, rough

An example in literature:

“Its chatoyant, iridescent colors suggest the fancy that it might have had its birth in the crystallization of some magnificent aurora.

– R.G. Taber, “An Outing in Labrador,” Outing: sport, adventure, travel, fiction, Volume 27, 1896


Say /ver-uh-si-mil-i-tood/ Noun

Here you have a word that is fantastic for describing the News lately.

  1. The appearance of being true or real
  2. something, as an assertion, having merely the appearance of truth.

Verisimilar Adjective. Verisimilarly Adverb. 

In a sentence, it may look like.

‘Miscellanios Joe, the editor of Definitely-Not-The-Sun, has a knack for creating verisimilar news stories.’

-Origin: from Latin verisimilitudo “likeness to truth,”

Synonyms: Plausability, veracity, credibility

Antonyms: Falseness, impossibility

An example in literature:

Now as to the verisimilitude, the miraculousness, and the fact, of this medicinal oil.

– John Henry Cardinal Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua 


Say /Peh-tri-core/ Noun

One last word to round it off, and this one is a beautiful, bucolic word.

  1. A mass noun used to describe a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather

Used in a sentence, it looks like this.

‘For the first time in centuries the rain fell on the barren plains, and the air was filled with petrichor’

-Origin: 1960s: blend of petro- relating to rocks (the smell is believed to be caused by a liquid mixture of organic compounds which collects in the ground) and ichor.

Synonyms: (I can’t find any)

Antonyms: (I can’t find any)

An example in literature:

PETRICHOR A pleasant, distinctive smell that often accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather in certain regions”

– Pete May, The Lost Words: A Feast of Forgotten Words, Their Origins and Their Meanings

That is it for this week’s wordage! I hope you enjoy the new format and have found at least one new word here. If you have any favourite, strange, or grandiloquent words, please share them with my in the comments below and perhaps they will end up in a future post.

More words next Wednesday.

Thanks for reading.

16 thoughts on “Versimilitude in Chatoyant Petrichor: Wednesday Wordage

      1. I feel you! It’s tough writing and simultaneously juggling 1000 thingamajig accounts at once…and it’s my pleasure. I’ve learnt some useful words off your Wednesday Wordage posts. 😄

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Chatoyant was new to me… believe it or not, I knew the other two. I love learning big new words, but find little use for them in my poetry. Once, at poetry group, a member read a piece with the word “tintinnabulation” in it. It was a gorgeous, perfect word in the context in which she had used it, but unfortunately, nobody knew what it meant. (I had to jot it down and look it up later.) If a writer makes me head for the dictionary more than three times in one page, there is a 99% chance I will never finish reading whatever they wrote. And I think I am more tolerant than most in that respect. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I agree. Overuse of these words can kill a piece of writing. However, knowing the perfect word for any occasion can prove beneficial. I also believe that using one of these words to create a nice flow or rhythm is worthwhile. But saturation of a text with these words will definitely lead readers to give up.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In terms of the English language as potentially infinite with new words added all the time, how do you feel about a “language” like Toki Pona ( It’s a minimalist language with only 120 root words and 14 phonemes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Micro language is a very interesting subject. I think distilling things down to their purest forms is an interesting exercise, though personally I would never want to use that language as a medium of expression. You can ‘want eat’ and ‘not want eat’ but it is almost impossible to explain the intricacies of why you like or dislike something without an expanded vocabulary. I much prefer a language with an abundance of words and weird rules of grammar over something simple any day.


  3. I missed one. Great words. I love petrichor. It’s like a perfectly balanced word, like trampoline or macaroon And I love the phenomenon itself.
    As for verisimilitude – this is a word I will look up for the rest of my life and never know the meaning of.

    Chatoyant is so damned suave, I don’t think I dare to use it. It’s out of my league.


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