Maybe it's been too long since I've read anything of substance, but I've been coming across words I don't know while reading The Lord of the Rings. (I have a memory for vocabulary and spelling, and if I don't know a word, believe me, it's an Event.)
(Does anyone else get excited about vocabulary? I do. I love learning new words, and memorable words lodge themselves in my mind, along with the way I learned them. These words will always remind me of The Lord of the Rings. Hooray! They're like...intellectual mementos. Others collect sea-shells, or postcards, or pennants, to remember places they've traveled. I, apparently, collect words as knick-knacks.) (If only I could learn to use them as handily!)
My husband pointed out that these words are Middle English. (Because Tolkien was writing a mythology for the British people, you know.) You know what I say to that? "Go ahead on with your clever sassy self, J. R. R.!"
Anyway, here's a list of words from The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers that I didn't know. Now I know them.
coomb: deep hollow or valley, especially on flank of a hill.
drabbling: to draggle; make or become wet and dirty.
eyot: An islet, or little isle, in a river or lake.
gangrel: 1. a lanky, loose-jointed person. 2. a wandering beggar; vagabond; vagrant.
holm-oak: evergreen oak of southern Europe having leaves somewhat resembling those of holly; yields a hard wood.
ilex: 1. any tree or shrub of the genus Ilex. 2. a holly.
laund: A plain sprinkled with trees or underbrush; a glade.
mere: A small lake, pond, or marsh.
sward: 1. the grassy surface of land; turf. 2. a stretch of turf; a growth of grass.---
"coomb." Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 08 Sep. 2008.
"drabbling." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 08 Sep. 2008.
"eyot." Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. MICRA, Inc. 08 Sep. 2008.
"gangrel." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 08 Sep. 2008.
"holm oak." WordNet® 3.0. Princeton University. 08 Sep. 2008.
"ilex." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 08 Sep. 2008.
"laund." Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. MICRA, Inc. 08 Sep. 2008.
"mere." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 08 Sep. 2008.
"sward." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 08 Sep. 2008.