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.

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.

Gibberellin

Any of several growth-regulating plant hormones that promote cell elongation and activity of the cambium, induce parthenocarpy (itself the natural or artificially induced production of fruit without fertilization of eggs, so that the fruit is seedless), and stimulate synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins.

From the story “Actors” in the collection Dictation by Cynthia Ozick, page 54.

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.

Sponson

A projection (as a gun platform) from the side of a ship or tank. Also an air chamber along a watercraft to increase stability and auoyancy.

From the story “Actors” in the collection Dictation by Cynthia Ozick, page 54.

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.

Fenugreek

A leguminous annual Eurasian herb with aromatic seeds (also: its seeds). I had seen the word and knew it was some kind of herb but didn’t know anything more specific. It’s used in a lot of Indian cooking in particular.

From the story “Actors” in the collection Dictation by Cynthia Ozick, page 54.

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.

Daven

To recite the prescribed prayers in a Jewish liturgy.

The Cannibal Galaxy, page 89.

“Joseph,” Pult said, “come here and daven. You have not davened.” Brill protested, “Rabbi, I just finished davening. You saw me. You heard me.” Pult said: “If you pray and then you go out and embarrass someone, you have not prayed.

Amaranthine

Of or relating to an amaranth, which is an annual herb. I’m frankly not 100% sure why the word is specifically appropriate in the sense below — I suppose because the name comes from words meaning “never fades” and the sense here is one of early youth, the children nearly as far from fading as it’s possible to get and be in the school described in the book.

The Cannibal Galaxy, page 85.

He was sick of nature’s pledge: daughters becoming mothers, the amaranthine first grade, the eighth grade unfailingly pubescent — Beulah, though her legs were still unrounded rods, was beginning breasts.