anabasis
a march from the coast into the interior, a military advance
apercus
a comment that makes an illuminating, or entertaining, point; from the French to perceive
apotropaic
Having the power to avert evil influences or bad luck.
aspidistra
a green leafy plant of the liliaceae family used as a house plant
assegias
an assegia is similar to a knobkerrie, a weapon like a javelin used by Zulu warriors and other trbes in South Africa
bathysphere
a manned spherical chamber for deep sea observation
billycan
tall slender container used to boil milk, espeically used by road workers
black pudding
also known as blood pudding, is a type of sausage favoured in Ireland
bluestocking
an old-fashioned term for an educated, intellectual woman.
bombazine
raw cotton; twilled dress fabric
Bonnard
French painter (1867-1947) noted for his use of colour
bosky
wooded area
brogues
shoes
caducous
in botany the falling of leaves when the cycle is complete
catafalque
a decorative, wooden framework on which lies a coffin of an important person lying in state
cerements
a waxed cloth for wrapping corpses
cinereal
muted silver, grey colour
civet
a nocturnal mammal with well developed anal scent glands; a musky perfume from a civet
creel
wicker basket used to hold fish
crepitant
to make a crackling, popping sound
crimplene
A fabric made of thick yarn. Wrinkle resistant and retains its shape.
crone
old woman who is thin and ugly
fete galante
a French term used to describe a type of painting which portrays elegantly dressed men and women–the idle rich of the 18th century
finical
finicky
fit-up
A name given in the 18th and 19th centuries to small bands of actors, often composed largely of members of a single family, who traveled with plays to backwater villages. They customarily performed in makeshift theatres, using barns, store porches, or any other available site. (From the Oxford Companion to American Theatre, Oxford University Press, 2004.)
flocculent
having a fluffy, woolly appearance; yielding
glair
egg white
haulms
stalks or stems
homunuculus
Latin for 'little human'
horrent
feeling or expressing horror as if a person's hair is standing on end
hugger-mugger
secret and clandestine
Humber Hawk
large, four cylinder saloon made in Britian
ichor
fluid that flows like blood from the veins of the Gods
inamorato
a person's male lover
infelicity
inappropriate remark
itinerant
Orientation Identification. Irish Travellers are an itinerant ethnic group. Similar itinerant trader, artisan, and entertainer Minorities...and is seldom used publicly today. The term "itinerant" was used extensively in the 1960s and 1970s...
jeroboam
named after Jeroboam, a king of Israel; wine bottle four times larger than ordinary wine bottle
landlubbered
landlubber is a person unfamiliar with the sea. (Perhaps Mr Banville has misused this term.)
leporine
hare, or rabbit like
littoral
the zone of seashore between the high and low-water marks
louche
disreputable in an appealing sort of way
louring
appearing dark or threatening
lummox
clumsy, somewhat stupid person
marmoreal
made of likened to marble
mephitic
poisonous, foul-smelling, putrid
mewled
to cry weakly
Mitteleuropan
Central European in character
nosce te ipsum
Greek aphorism: Know thyself
novelettishly
like a novelette–sentimental or trite
pard
archaic usage which refers to a leopard
pitch pine
old flooring used in the last century in Ireland, usually wide planked
plangent
a loud, reverberating, melancholic sound
plimsoll
rubber soled shoe like a sneaker
prelapsarian
the time before the Fall of man
recreant
archaic usage which means cowardly
rubescent
blushing
simian
ape-like
soughing
making a soft, muffled or mumuring sound like the surf or gentle breeze
succubus
a female demon believed to have sexual intercourse with sleeping men
tumid
swollen, especiallly a swollen part of the body
velutinous
velvety
Vulgate
the Latin version of the Bible
wellingtons
rubber boots that cover up to mid calf suitable for wearing in rainy weather and in soft, muddy earth
wireless
old term meaning radio
womby
archaic usage which refers to capacious, meaning able to contain an amount
ziggurat
a stepped tower in ancient Mesopotamia