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Weird and Wonderful Words [Hardcover]

Simon Winchester , Erin McKean , Roz Chast
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 9.57 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Oct 2002
Weird and Wonderful Words is a pot-pourri, a gallimaufry, a salmagundi, a treasure trove of colourful, quirky, and unusual words. Containing hundreds of definitions written in a clear and conversational style and full-page illustrations which offer a whimsical and hilarious view of our glorious language.

Amuse yourself and entertain your friends with your knowledge of who a snollygoster or a Funambulist may be, what a humdudgeon or a nubbingcheat was, or why you might want to engage in catopromancy.

Appendices include a bibliography of Oxford dictionaries and a guide to creating your own unusual words correctly from Greek and Latin roots.

The perfect stocking filler and gift book, Weird and Wonderful Words is sure to be a favourite of logophiles (word lovers) everywhere.

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Weird and Wonderful Words + The Completely Superior Person's Book of Words
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 146 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1st. Edition edition (1 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195159055
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195159059
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 14.5 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 564,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


this is a book that will enhance both your logodaedaly and your eutrapely. For all its nidgery appearance, it merits not a suirk but a place on the pluteus of your sitooterie (Daily Express)

a fascinating new dictionary (Daily Mirror)

About the Author

Erin McKean (Senior Editor, US Dictionaries Program) is the editor of the language quarterly

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre 9 Jan 2014
By Lee
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Interesting, and an amusing read. Some very obscure words - makes you wonde who invented them. Well worth giving to a journalist!
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5.0 out of 5 stars weird word book 14 May 2011
By dianne
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a good comprehensive book on the weird words. excellently put into sections for ease of use, and interesting to read. introduces weird words and their uses, the originality of each word also included.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I got it for a gift, but I'm keeping it! 5 Sep 2002
By Jo Lydon - Published on
I saw this book in the New York Times Language column and thought it would make a great gift for my dad, who loves words and crossword puzzles. I started flipping thru it and got hooked. The words aren't boring or stuffy at all, even though a lot of them are long (my favorite was zedonk, the chlid of a donkey and a zebra) and the cartoons are really funny, too.
I only wish there were more words in it. Maybe they'll do a Weird Words 2. I'm going to keep this one and order another one for my dad.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Foray into Logodaedaly 6 Mar 2003
By Daniel L Pratt - Published on
Word lovers should find this book highly entertaining. The selected words include some of my personal favorites, and a great many words completely new to me, some of which are new favorites. The illustrations are ho-hum and may lead many readers to wish the space had been used for more words. Luckily, the compiler plans a collection of weirder and wonderfuller words, which will be given some prosaic title by the publisher.
One caveat: there are some racy entries, not enough to spur sales, but enough to give the book an X rating in some households and a PG-13 in many. Too bad, as the book would otherwise be an excellent inspiration for many a young wordsmith. Perhaps the compiler can be persuaded to gather a similar collection of words, like "googol", of interest to children and adults alike. If only this collection had been just a shade more verecund!
I'll let you buy the book if you want to know the precise meanings of logodaedaly and verecund.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh so close to perfect! 25 Dec 2002
By Walter Reade - Published on
This is a fantastic book for the logophile! It contains plenty of odd, unusual, rare, and otherwise interesting words, along with their definition. A pleasant layout and humorous illustrations keep the book on the lighter side. While there are a number of such books available, this stands out with supplementary materials such as "How to create you own weird and wonderful words," "A Webliography of Weird and Wonderful Word Sites," and "The Logophile's Bibliography."
My only complaint is that there is no pronunciation included with each entry. This is a relatively small issue, and the only thing keeping the book from a 5-star rating.
4.0 out of 5 stars Meet the colorful and strange side of English. 18 Jun 2004
By M. E. Volmar - Published on
This informative, entertaining and amusing reference explains the meaning of hundreds of the most bizarre, astonishing and interesting words that, although technically a part of the English lexicon, have been laid aside from our everyday conversations and are now forgotten and waiting to be found.
Organized alphabetically in a dictionary format, each entry, written in a conversational style, provides a clear definition of a specific word. It often includes the word's origin, and sometimes it's accompanied by a humorous drawing that serves to illustrate both the word's meaning and its usage.
The book also contains a few particular and very funny sections that deal with groups of related words: anatomical terms, names of illnesses, words that begin with the letter "x," and words that end in "logy," among others.
Another hilarious section is "How to Create Your Own Weird and Wonderful Words," intended as a practical guide to help you coin your own unusual vocabulary by using Greek and Latin roots and loose linguistic rules to insure the most legitimate sounding spellings and pronunciation.
As a bonus, especially for those of us interested in doing some further reading, the author also supplies a list of web sites that feature the history and curiosities of the English language, and a list of Oxford dictionaries and reference books.
The only thing missing from this volume is a pronunciation guide, otherwise it is the perfect way to discover, by either direct consultation or casual browsing, the unusual words like ascesis, passiuncle and illywhacker, that decorate our language.
This book is a must-buy for word enthusiasts or trivia lovers alike.
--Reviewed by M. E. Volmar
5.0 out of 5 stars The Title Says It All 30 Dec 2013
By Joel Jenkins - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For a word nerd like myself this was a fantastic and inspiring read. Many of these words will be used by me in the near future.
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