Welcome to “Five words from …” our new feature highlighting interesting words from interesting books! Up first is The Peripheral, by William Gibson.
Netherton was relieved that she hadn’t yet called the display a shewstone.
A shewstone (often spelled show-stone) is an archaic term for “a polished quartz crystal serving as a magic mirror in certain incantations”.
Your peripheral is a tetrachromat.
A tetrachromat is “a person capable of identifying four primary colors, rather than three”.
It was androgenic, he said, and she knew from Ciencia Loca and National Geographic that that meant because of people.
The word androgenic is usually used in the sense “related to the male hormone androgen” but here is used closer to the sense of anthropogenic, “caused by humans”.
She wore a more ornate reticule than usual, covered in mourning beads and hung with a sterling affair he knew to be a chatelaine, the organizer for a set of Victorian ladies’ household accessories.
Chatelaine is defined in context here. A reticule (bonus word) is “a bag, originally of network, but later of any formation or material, carried by women in the hand or upon the arm, and answering the purpose of a pocket.”
An anthropomorph, really, to be disanthromorphized.
The word anthropomorph can be used to mean “an element in decorative art, derived from the human form” but here is used in the sense of “something endowed with human qualities”.
Did we miss any other great words in The Peripheral? Feel free to point them out in the comments!
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