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The Meaning of Liff: The Original Dictionary Of Things There Should Be Words For Paperback – 11 Nov 1983

4.4 out of 5 stars 208 customer reviews

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Paperback, 11 Nov 1983
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Reprints edition (11 Nov. 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330281216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330281218
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 1 x 15.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

In life and, indeed, in liff, there are many hundreds of common experiences, feelings, situations and even objects which we all know and recognize, but for which no words exist. This text uses place names to describe some of these meanings.

From the Inside Flap

Does the sensation of Tingrith(1) make you yelp? Do you bend sympathetically when you see someone Ahenny(2)? Can you deal with a Naugatuck(3) without causing a Toronto(4)? Will you suffer from Kettering(5) this summer?
Probably. You are almost certainly familiar with all these experiences but just didn't know that there are words for them. Well, in fact, there aren't--or rather there weren't, until Douglas Adams and John Lloyd decided to plug these egregious linguistic lacunae(6). They quickly realized that just as there are an awful lot of experiences that no one has a name for, so there are an awful lot of names for places you will never need to go to. What a waste. As responsible citizens of a small and crowded world, we must all learn the virtues of recycling(7) and put old, worn-out but still serviceable names to exciting, vibrant, new uses. This is the book that does that for you: "The Deeper Meaning of Liff--a whole new solution to the problem of Great Wakering(8)

1--The feeling of aluminum foil against your fillings.
2--The way people stand when examining other people's bookshelves.
3--A plastic packet containing shampoo, mustard, etc., which is impossible to open except by biting off
the corners.
4--Generic term for anything that comes out in a gush, despite all your efforts to let it out carefully, e.g., flour into a white sauce, ketchup onto fish, a dog into the yard, and another naughty meaning that we can't put on the cover.
5--The marks left on your bottom and thighs after you've been sitting sunbathing in a wicker chair.
6--God knows what this means
7--For instance, some of this book was first published in Britain twenty-six years ago.
8--Look it up yourself. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 20 Aug. 2001
Format: Paperback
What a fantastic book - what a brilliant concept. Hundreds of words simply wasting their time hanging around on signposts. Hundreds of objects, situations, states of mind etc. for which there are no words in common use.

Two quick examples...

Have you ever walked along a street, only to encounter someone coming in the opposite direction, at which point you engage in a little dance that involves both of you skipping from side to side, interspersed with apologies? You have? Droitwich!

Those bits you find in bacon, that you only actually discover when you bite on them and break your teeth...? Beccles!

As for seeing someone you recognise at the opposite end of a long corridor, and judging when is just precisely the right time to let them know you've seen them... well I'll leave that for you to find out yourself.

This is a great, great book. One you can come back to time and time again, and always find yourself sniggering, or laughing out loud, or sometimes just nodding sagely (with a smirk at your mouth!).

If anything, The Deeper Meaning of Liff is not quite as good as the original Meaning of Liff, the former being a thicker version of the latter (extended by using words hanging around on non-British signposts), but if you don't have the original, you might as well buy this. It can only be 5 stars! Fantastic!
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Format: Paperback
It's the perfect book to carry around with you and pass the odd minute here or there, at the bus stop, waiting to be called at the doctors office, just as long as you don't mind peolple staring at you when you hit a really funny one and start smiling and laughing to yourself.
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Format: Paperback
First read the original version on the York to London train in April 1984, and by Stevenage was reading it aloud to my half of the carriage. My four children have been brought up on scullets, duddos, aboynes, goosnarge, kent expressions and, of course, clixbys. I have frequently been threatened with matricide for being exessively spreakly, but have never been accused of a ditherington. My husband has a fondness for my budbys, and has had consirable experience of poonas. I've had plenty of episodes of silesia, been occasionally duntish after being extremely solent, endured many a hoylake, committed the occasional hidcote bartram and have often been observed kelling. I'm also very adept at losing things in fiunaries. Anyone who understands some - or most of this - is at least as sad as I am, but probably, also like me, has more fun in life than many people.. Now have a copy of the Deeper Meaning, but haven't learned as many new words now my family have grown & flown. I still think a runcorn could be an athletes affliction, slimbridge a dieter's scales, and saundersfoot the irritating tapping made someone who is enjoying the sort of music you can't stand! Maybe they'll be an Even Deeper Meaning of Liff?
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Format: Paperback
I am deeply disappointed that both books are still in circulation. The Deeper Meaning of Liff (TDMOF) is an updated edition of The Meaning of Liff (TMOF), it contains all the definitions found in TMOF and a significant number more. So why oh why is TMOF still being sold???? Don't make the same mistake I did, I bought both together.
5 Comments 163 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Douglas Adams has already become famous with the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy with it's really random approach to the world in his classic sci-fi humour. In the Deeper Meaning of Liff, Douglas teams up with John LLoyd to make the ultimate in random and true humour. If things that are funny becasue they're true are you thing, then you will instantly fall in love with this book. There is not a single page where there isn't at least one word that will set you bursting out with laughter. All words are place names from around the word and some words even have illustrations to go with them. What should really be known as the random bible, The Deeper Meaning of Liff is a collection of common objects or experiences for which there is no word for it and damn, is it funny or what? Even the little bit at the beginning about the preface reprints is hilarious. So why not sit back when your bored, get the Deeper Meaning of Liff off the shelves and prepare to be laughing for ages, therefore making it the worst book to take to places where you must be quiet. Genius.
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By A Customer on 24 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is a great companion when touring the country. Look again at all those boring road signs and look up the definitions that have been assigned to them. Never again will journeys be dull. Witty, hilarious and some just down right rude, this is the work of a warped mind and it's brilliant! One of the most tumbed books in my collection. Every "Hitch Hikers Guide" fan will love this and so will others new to Adams' work. Not yet met anyone who didn't appreciate it.
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Format: Paperback
The meaning of Liff is unputdownable...not as much as in the best seller sense as a cigarette addiction..you will go back for the same stuff just because of its power of unalloyed joy
this book is a great party tool...can recollect the hours through several nights when 'Liff' has generated near-death experiences due to abdominal seizures of laughter..when one reads out and others get ready for getting convulsed and hit the floor
absolutely priceless creation..a different flavour of genius from the hitchhiker theme
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