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The Word Lover's Dictionary: Unusual, Obscure, and Preposterous Words [Paperback]

Norman Lebrecht
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp. (1 Jan 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806517204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806517209
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 564,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scrumptious and Delectable Words 25 Feb 2005
Format:Paperback
Of course, you wouldn't find "scrumptious and delectable" in this dictionary. You know what those two words mean. This dictionary has the words you never heard of without having to buy the mammoth treasure, "The Oxford English Dictionary."
As a book reviewer, one who feels quite at ease telling you what I think, I've learned I'm a philodox (one who loves his own opinions), but I think I'm more of a philonist (searcher of knowledge).
Ever fum? No, no, that's nothing naughty (which then would be placular). It is playing a fiddle. Maybe fiddle players know this, but I didn't.
Get 'wowf' with words (wild and extreme). You can be as snod as 007. Grab a miche and slice a piece, and read through this yummy book. The definitions are only a few words each, but will provide you with just enough knowledge to impress your friends (or alienate you from them!).
You won't be overwhelmed by the layout or length. You can read through it in a few Saturdays.
Intumulate your Websters, and buy this one. It is aosmic and apinoid (odorless and dirt-free). What more could you want?
For fun (that's f-u-n, not f-u-m), I read it backwards, from zzxjoanw (a Moari drum) to aa (rough, crumbling lava). Preposterous books ought to be read in a preposterous way, don't you think?
I fully recommend "The Word Lover's Dictionary: Unusual, Obscure, and Preposterous Words" by Josefa Heifetz. It is precisely what it claims to be. It is for any philocalist of words.
Anthony Trendl
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book! 29 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is an absolute treat! Easy to pick up, read a few words and then put down again, feeling slightly smarter than you were when you started!
Would definitely recommend to anybody looking to expand their vocabulary or looking to impress friends with new words!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I love these kind of books, but they need to really strike a balance. The definitions here are short sentences, but I like to have a bit of further explanation and history behind words. I also like to see words which one might actually have a finite chance of using in modern day speech or writing. This book is just cramming in as many as it can, with too many you would never use.

Examples chosen opening a page at random:

charuk - an old Turkish sandal with turned up tips
chewink - the red-eyed towhee
chichevache - a medieval monster said to have fed on patient wives
chowry - an East Indian flay-swatter made from a yak's tail

...and so on. It also falls for the infamous hoax word 'zzxjoanw' - supposedly a Maori drum.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book 9 Jan 2012
By Roger
Format:Paperback
Great present, ordered it, it arrived in the time stated, exactly as described and the recipient was happy.

Overall a great purchase.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True to its title. You have to love words to love this book. 16 April 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This 264 page book has over SIX THOUSAND words all of which are definitely unusual and obscure. I didn't find any preposterous words though:-) I recently bought this book so I can't use the words from the book in this review yet. But I wanted to share a few thoughts and observations about the book.
The first thing I did before buying the book was to see how many of the words I was unfamiliar with. You see, I had once gone through the entire Collins English Language Dictionary cover to cover (not the pocket version, the one with over 70,000 words). It's not important to this review why I did such an insane thing as read a dictionary cover to cover. More importantly, because of this background, I figured that I should find very few words in this Word Lover's Dictionary that I had not run across in my life before. I was in for a surprise! I scanned 3 whole pages and to my utter shock, I didn't find a single word that I had seen before! This amazed me so much that I immediately purchased a copy of the book.
The second thing I did was to get on the Internet to see how many words would show up in their search engine. I was even more surprised when I found that out of 10 consecutive words that I randomly picked from the book, only 3 showed up as valid! Of course, this doesn't mean that these words don't exist, it just means that you need to go to the Unabridged version of some English language dictionary to find them. Since the Unabridged versions are premium services on most sites, I didn't check to see how the 10 words would fare on those sites. But I wouldn't be surprised if you have to go to quite a few sites to find all the words. The author does admit that you would have to look through many Unabridged dictionaries to actually find some of these words.
Some interesting facts about words in the English language. There are approximately 600,000 words in the English language and most of these words are related to Science and Technology. Of these, a majority are biological or chemical terms to be more precise. They also happen to be nouns referring to the thousands of chemicals, bacteria, plants & animals, etc. Leaving these nouns to the side, there are less than 100,000 words that we could possibly use in our daily communications unless we are in those highly specialized fields of Science and Technology. So, most Abridged dictionaries contain anywhere between 30,000 and 70,000 words and you would actually have to go to the Unabridged versions to find the rest of the usable words. The author has collected 6,000 of the most unusual and obscure of these other 30,000 words to present to the reader. It is a truly REMARKABLE effort indeed!
Bottom line, if you love words, get this book. Don't even hesitate. I haven't regretted my purchase since I got my copy. Every week, I plan on spending a few minutes going through these pages. I know I will thoroughly enjoy the experience (as I have so far). I hope you do too :-)
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scrumptious and Delectable Words 15 Oct 2002
By A.Trendl HungarianBookstore.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Of course, you wouldn't find "scrumptious and delectable" in this dictionary. You know what those two words mean. This dictionary has the words you never heard of without having to buy the mammoth OED.

As a book reviewer, one who feels quite at ease telling you what I think, I've learned I'm a philodox (one who loves his own opinions), but I think I'm more of a philonist (searcher of knowledge).

Ever fum? No, no, that's nothing naughty (which then would be placular). It is playing a fiddle. Maybe fiddle players know this, but I didn't.

Get 'wowf' with words (wild and extreme). You can be as snod as 007. Grab a miche and slice a piece, and read through this yummy book. The definitions are only a few words each, but will provide you with just enough knowledge to impress your friends (or alienate you from them!).

You won't be overwhelmed by the layout or length. You can read through it in a few Saturdays.

Intumulate your Websters, and buy this one. It is aosmic and apinoid (odorless and dirt-free). What more could you want?

For fun (that's f-u-n, not f-u-m), I read it backwards, from zzxjoanw (a Moari drum) to aa (rough, crumbling lava). Preposterous books ought to be read in a preposterous way, don't you think?

I fully recommend "The Word Lover's Dictionary: Unusual, Obscure, and Preposterous Words" by Josefa Heifetz. It is precisely what it claims to be. For any philocalist of words.

Anthony Trendl
editor, HungarianBookstore.com
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For every logolept and logophile 4 Aug 2003
By iOS Software Developer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Suffering from lethologica? Then look no further. This book contains definitions for some of the most fascinating, useful, yet obscure English words. And yes, every word in this book is indeed an English word. You will find no neologisms by Heifetz in this wonderful work for wordsmiths. Find out how powerful and vast the English language really is. Read this book; expand your mind.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A feast for word lovers 20 Sep 2002
By John D. Olsen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Each month I play the game Dictionary, a parlor game that is the basis of Balderdash. We use this a prime resource for really obscure words. Fun to just browse through and read up on some of the weirder corners of the English language. Merkin is my favorite.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than 6,000 Unusual Words In A Fun Dictionary 28 Dec 2004
By G. Reid - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is just great, fun and educational to use. It is also published in hardcover as ISBN #1567315542. It is also published with the title of "Mrs. Byrne's Dictionary." This dictionary is most definately undiscovered since it's sales ranking would be much higher if more persons were aware of it.

Inside of this dictionary is an entire galaxy of more than six thousand of the most unusual words. In spite of this fact, you will have heard of many of the words and even have used a few of them in everyday communication.

To wet your appetite here are 15 of the words out of the dictionary and clues as to their meanings. Enjoy!

oxymoron(something is terribly nice)

paladin(think of the TV show)

krill(whale food)

kopophobia(too tired)

cwm(word is in all of the Mt. Everest books)

gyneolatry(you have her on a pedestal)

fungible(interchangeable)

rectopathic(thin skinned)

tardigrade(think of a snail)

oread(nymph)

oology(produced by a bird)

rompworthy(lucky you)

pyrrhotism(what is red?)

gynophobia(what are you afraid of?)

pyrolagnia(you and your lover are sitting by the fireplace)

This dictionary favors forgotten words but words too useful to be forgotten. All words can be found in one or more major english dictionaries.
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