Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Steamsmith Vocabulary

This is a bonus perk for the April 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl reaching the $400 mark and setting a new record in donations.  I finally polished up one of the Steamsmith extras to where it's suitable for public viewing.

The Steamsmith series of poems contains a lot of terms particular to nether-Earth and the science of alchemy on which so much of the technology is based.  A majority of the foreign words come from Greek, where most of Europe's alchemy began.  Materials or concepts developed primarily in other cultures often maintain the original language such as Arabic or Chinese.  The vocabulary list is presented here to further the audience's enjoyment and understanding of the series, which may be found through the Serial Poetry page.

aer -- the element of Air

aether -- the element of Quintessence


alkahest -- universal solvent; a molecule consisting of three atoms of hudor (Water), one atom of aer  (Air), and one atom of pyra  (Fire).

amis -- steam; one atom of pyra  (Fire), one atom of hudor  (Water), and one

            atom of aether  (Quintessence)

arche -- a prime steamwork fuel; a molecule consisting of one atom

            of aer  (Air)  and two of pyra  (Fire).  It quits working if exposed

            to hudor  (Water).

astrapi -- lightning; consists of two atoms of aer  (Air), one of hudor  (Water), and one of pyra  (Fire); it's unstable, created briefly during a quick reconfiguration of atoms.  It can generate a lot of power, but is dangerous and difficult to control.  It is sometimes used as a weapon.


athanor -- alchemical furnace; a device for harnessing the power of pyra  (Fire)

and its fuels through a self-feeding mechanism that maintains a uniform temperature.  It is cleaner and more precise than a conventional furnace that simply burns combustible fuel.  It can also perform alchemical purification, which is stronger and longer lasting than physical sterilization; contrast hermetically sealed canned goods with pressure canned goods.  However, it is subject to disruption and (as typical for equipment relating to this element) can be explosive.


azote -- nitrogen; a molecule consisting of two atoms of aer  (Air) and one of pyra (Fire).


borasco -- fluid, the Wet fuel; two atoms of hudor  (Water) and one of aer  (Air).  It is derived from a Mediterranean name for a thunderstorm, out of the Greek borrâs  or boreas  for "north wind."


brimstone -- sulphur; two atoms of pyra  (Fire), one atom of aer  (Air), and one

            atom of ge  (Earth).


calcite -- dígí  in Yoruban; consisting of one atom of aer  (Air), two atoms of ge  (Earth), one atom of hudor  (Water), and two atoms of aether  (Quintessence); used by twinned alchemists among the Yoruba people for its birefringence (double refraction) qualities

chole -- the humour of yellow bile

clockwork(s) -- a type of alchemical science and technology which features

            timekeeping devices and other mechanisms for taking measurements


compound -- a substance that consists of two or more different elements chemically bound into a specific pattern


earth-engine -- an alchemical device for pulling power out of the ground for various uses, depending more on soil than stone, and relating primarily to the element of ge  (Earth)

earthwork(s) -- a type of alchemical science and technology based on ge 

            (Earth), mainly involving the energy of soil which can be gathered as a

            useful power source, slow and strong and relatively safe; a bit like

            geothermal energy


earthworker -- an alchemist who specializes in earth-engines or other earthworks, the technology of soil energy; this field belongs primarily to commoners, although most alchemical sciences belong more to gentlemen

element -- a cohesive atomic material which cannot readily be broken down into

other things, but which can combine with itself and/or other elements to form molecules with different properties; the four classical elements form the basis of alchemical science and technology


exalt -- to join aether  (Quintessence) with an existing element or compound


exalted -- something that contains aether  (Quintessence)


exowomb -- an alchemical device for gestation, developed in the pursuit of takwin, the science of creating life in the laboratory

ge -- the element of Earth

groundwork(s) -- a broad category of alchemical science and technology based on ge  (Earth), including stoneworks and earthworks.  It often uses khthonios (nether) as a fuel.


henna -- hina  or al-Hinna  in Arabic; consisting of one atom of aer  (Air), two

            atoms of ge  (Earth), two atoms of hudor  (Water), and one atom of aether 

            (Quintessence).  It can create alchemically effective markings.

hudor -- the element of Water

humour -- one of the four primary bodily fluids, which combine to regulate the functions of the body and the mental/emotional aspects of the personality; each humour corresponds to one of the four classical elements


keme -- black earth, topsoil, humus; fertile, arable soil that can sustain life; three

            atoms of ge  (Earth) and two of hudor  (Water).  [Egyptian]

keramos -- ceramic; consisting of one atom of aer  (Air), three atoms of ge  (Earth), two atoms of hudor  (Water), two atoms of pyra  (Fire), and one atom of aether  (Quintessence)


khthonios -- nether; one atom of ge  (Earth), one atom of aer  (Air), and one atom

            of aether  (Quintessence).  The Arabic name for it is simum  (sandstorm).


kleidi -- key; the governing organ of phlegma  (phlegm), located behind the carina of the trachea, near the spine.


kryos -- floe; the Cold fuel, combining one atom of ge  (Earth) and two of hudor 


lei fen -- the Dry fuel, combining two atoms of pyra  (Fire) and one of ge

(Earth); an explosive used similarly to gunpowder, activated by aer  (Air).  The name means "thunder flour" in Chinese.  Lei  is thunder but the same

logograph also means mine (the exploding kind) and detonator so you have a semantic association right there; fen means flour and also powder

(as in 'thing ground into powder') and pollen.  Both words have interesting omophones. Depending on the logographs you write it with, lei fen  could also mean 'blossom pollen', 'blossom fragrance' or 'rend and burn'.

matties -- automatons that don't resemble people, usually less independent and

            more specialised than tommies


mehndi -- the Indian art of staining the skin with henna, often for alchemical purposes

melan chole -- the humour of black bile

phlegma -- the humour of phlegm 

phos -- light; a molecule consisting of one atom of aer (Air) and one of pyra (Fire)

pyra -- the element of Fire


pyrite -- firestone, a material from which sparks may be struck and which is stable in air; a molecule consisting of two atoms of ge  (Earth) and two atoms of pyra  (Fire)

sanguis -- the humour of blood

si -- silk; consisting of two atoms of aer (Air), two atoms of ge  (Earth), two atoms

            of hudor  (Water), and one atom of aether  (Quintessence)


simum -- the Arabic term for the alchemical fuel khthonios  (nether), named after a type of sandstorm


skotos -- dark; consisting of one atom of ge  (Earth) and one atom of hudor  (Water)

skycycle -- an alchemical device similar to a unicycle, with a propeller above it, which allows a rider to fly. 

skywork(s) -- a broad category of alchemical science and technology based on aer  (Air); it often uses khthonios  (nether) as a fuel.


steam tunnel -- a long tubular space, usually underground, containing conduits for steam energy and the means to control it, with enough extra room to provide access for steamsmiths; somewhat similar to a subway tunnel or sewer in that a network runs beneath much of a city


steamroom -- an area dedicated to alchemical technology, such as a furnace

steamsmith -- an expert in alchemical science and technology

steamwork(s) -- alchemical science and technology, particularly that which

            blends pyra (Fire) and hudor (Water)


stonework(s) -- a type of alchemical science and technology based on ge 

            (Earth), involving the manipulation of rocks, often for durability or safety

takwin -- the artificial creation of life in the alchemical laboratory; although only proto-life has been created in terms of biology, this branch of study led to discoveries that made possible the animating spirit of the automatons with their semblance of life through technology, as well as explorations into the animation, reanimation, or transplantation of naturally occurring tissues [Arabic]


tommies -- automatons, robots, androids; fairly sophisticated models

            that resemble people and can perform more complex tasks than the

            simpler matties


xylos -- wood; consisting of one atom of aer  (Air), two atoms of ge  (Earth), one atom of hudor  (Water), and one atoms of aether  (Quintessence)


yalos -- glass; consisting of three atoms of aer  (Air) and one of ge  (Earth). 


yu -- jade; consisting of one atom of aer  (Air), one atom of ge  (Earth), one atom of hudor  (Water), one atom of pyra  (Fire), and one atom of aether  (Quintessence)

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, linguistics, poetry, reading, science fiction, vocabulary, writing

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