Athanor

A self-feeding digesting furnace that maintained a uniform and durable heat and was used by alchemists. The word comes from Arabic at-tannūr, the oven, from Aramaic tannūr, oven. I wonder if tandoori is related?

From the story “Actors” in the collection Dictation by Cynthia Ozick, page 79.

The usage in context here is pretty undistinguished, as the word appears in a list of words that the author of crossword puzzles happens to know. It’s not really worth quoting.

Muleta

A small cloth attached to a short tapered stick and used by a matador in place of the large cape during the final stage of a bullfight.

From the story “Actors” in the collection Dictation by Cynthia Ozick, page 79.

The usage in context here is pretty undistinguished, as the word appears in a list of words that the author of crossword puzzles happens to know. It’s not really worth quoting.

Urus

An alternate form of “aurochs,” an extinct large long-horned wild ox of Europe that is the ancestor of domestic cattle. I had heard of an aurochs but hadn’t seen this variant.

From the story “Actors” in the collection Dictation by Cynthia Ozick, page 79.

The usage in context here is pretty undistinguished, as the word appears in a list of words that the author of crossword puzzles happens to know. It’s not really worth quoting.

Stammel

A coarse woolen clothing fabric usually dyed red and used sometimes for undershirts of penitents. Also, archaically, the bright red color of stammel. The word is archaic.

From the story “Actors” in the collection Dictation by Cynthia Ozick, page 79.

The usage in context here is pretty undistinguished, as the word appears in a list of words that the author of crossword puzzles happens to know. It’s not really worth quoting.

Mugient

Making a lowing sound. Bellowing. It’s from the Latin mugire, meaning “to bellow or moo.” Is “moo,” then, not merely onomatopoeic but also a shortening of this Latin word? Or is the original Latin itself onomatopoeic?

From the story “Actors” in the collection Dictation by Cynthia Ozick, page 79.

The usage in context here is pretty undistinguished, as the word appears in a list of words that the author of crossword puzzles happens to know. It’s not really worth quoting.

Wadi

The bed or valley of a stream in regions of southwestern Asia and northern Africa that is usually dry except during the rainy season and that often forms an oasis. Or, more generally, a shallow usually sharply defined depression in a desert region.

From the story “Actors” in the collection Dictation by Cynthia Ozick, page 62.

And Lionel had a comfortingly aging face, with a firm deep wadi slashed across his forehead, and a wen hidden in one eyebrow.