What does brumous mean?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: brumous…

My husband is extraordinarily interested in birds. I am not, although I don’t mind the creatures. But on his request I gave him the book H is for Hawk by Helen Madonald for Christmas. And when two friends told me they’d read the book too, and loved it, I was persuaded to give it a try.

While the subject matter didn’t really appeal, my God, this woman can write. I’ll be blogging about the book again later in the week when it’s time for my “figurative writing” post. But she also provided a bevy or words that were new to me, giving me several rich possibilities for my word-of-the-week. I’ve selected brumous. Here is how Macdonald used it:

My head still hurts. There’s a brumous, pewter light outside, as if someone had stuck tracing paper against the glass.

It turns out brumous is a literary adjective meaning foggy or wintry. Use of the word peaked in the mid-19th century coming from the French brumeux, which, in turn came from the late Latin brumosus (from brume meaning ‘winter’). I like the word enough that I think I’ll be looking for opportunities to use it before spring weather sets in…

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