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Weird and Wonderful Words Hardcover – 1 Oct 2002

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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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: 22.2 x 1.7 x 14.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 910,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 Verbatim. Roz Chast (cartoonist) is the staff cartoonist for the New Yorker and author of more than five cartoon books.

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By Lee on 9 Jan. 2014
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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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) HASH(0x93387600) out of 5 stars 17 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x930ccf6c) out of 5 stars I got it for a gift, but I'm keeping it! 5 Sept. 2002
By Jo Lydon - Published on
Format: Hardcover
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.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x934b9c0c) out of 5 stars Meet the colorful and strange side of English. 18 Jun. 2004
By M. E. Volmar - Published on
Format: Hardcover
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
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x930cac18) out of 5 stars Oh so close to perfect! 25 Dec. 2002
By Walter Reade - Published on
Format: Hardcover
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.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x930a4ce4) out of 5 stars A Foray into Logodaedaly 6 Mar. 2003
By Daniel L Pratt - Published on
Format: Hardcover
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x934b9540) out of 5 stars a small volume of humorously absurd and obscure words 17 Jan. 2016
By Mylz - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Do you have a 'gongoozler' (an idler staring at any kind of activity) in your neighborhood? Is your aunt a 'bablatrice' (a female babbler)? Are you eager to enhance your 'scibility' (the power of knowing)? Then, prepare your 'pluteus' (a shelf for books) for a small, amusingly 'ostrobogulous' (bizarre, unusual, or interesting) volume entitled Weird and Wonderful Words.

This book is a handy reference for those who get a kick out of wordplay and for those who want to add some spice to their converation and/or writing. You can read it studiously from front to back, peruse it in a random fashion, or do what I did: seek out each Roz Chast illustration to further excite your curiosity about its contents. Roz Chast, also known for her neurotic and humorous cartoon work in the New Yorker, is a natural choice for accompanying so many absurd and obscure words. Her drawings here and within her own books always manage to squeeze a 'squirk' (a half-suppressed laugh) out of me.

Many of the words featured inside contain a brief backstory, origin, and/or word usage. In between what one might call letter-designated chapters are more juicy bizarrities of 2-page word trivia with such headings as: "Irregular and Incredible Illnesses", "Freakish and Fantastic Fornications", "Exceptional and Extraordinary X-es", etc. At the end of the book are: tips on how to create your own words (should you need help with that); a "Logophile's Bibliography", a short directory of dictionaries: basic, in-depth, and for modern English usage; and a short list of reference books of word knowledge and language builders.

From time to time, I look to this book for amusement and to refresh my memory. I find myself reusing words I had forgotten and picking out other words to learn by association so I can use them in the future. If ordinary conversation and trendy stock phrases get you down, quit 'jiffling' (fidgeting) and make this book a staple in your collection.
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