Weird and Wonderful Words

Overview


Do you know what a snollygoster is? Do you know anyone who engages in onolatry? Would you eat something called a muktuk? Impress your friends and pepper your dinner party conversations with such nuggets as gobemouche, mumpsimus, and cachinnate. Tie your tongue in knots trying to say such sesquipedalian words as floccinaucinihilipilification or pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. You can learn about all of these bizarre and beautiful words and many more in Weird and ...
See more details below
Hardcover
$12.48
BN.com price
(Save 30%)$17.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (53) from $1.99   
  • New (8) from $6.14   
  • Used (45) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview


Do you know what a snollygoster is? Do you know anyone who engages in onolatry? Would you eat something called a muktuk? Impress your friends and pepper your dinner party conversations with such nuggets as gobemouche, mumpsimus, and cachinnate. Tie your tongue in knots trying to say such sesquipedalian words as floccinaucinihilipilification or pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. You can learn about all of these bizarre and beautiful words and many more in Weird and Wonderful Words.

Weird and Wonderful Words is a potpourri--a gallimaufry--a salmagundi--a collection of colorful and strange words. Compiled by noted lexicographer Erin McKean, the book contains hundreds of definitions written in a clear and conversational style accompanied by full-page cartoon illustrations by Roz Chast. Featuring hundreds of words guaranteed to amuse and astonish, this is a book that will appeal to logophiles everywhere. It also features a bibliography of Oxford dictionaries and a guide to creating your own unusual words correctly from Greek and Latin roots.

Smart and funny and with just a touch of whimsy, Weird and Wonderful Words is the perfect book for reading in your sitooterie with a bumbo in your hand while mavises sing in your earor something like that.

A sampling of Weird and Wonderful Words:
*Autochthon: a human being born from the soil where he or she lives (like the Biblical Adam). Also used as a synonym for aborigine, it comes from a Greek word meaning sprung from that land itself.
*Camorra: a secret society, usually one breaking the law. This word comes from the name of group that was active in Naples in the nineteenth century.
*Snollygoster: a dishonest politician, especially a shrewd or calculating one. A connection has been proposed between this word and snallygaster, a mythical monster of Maryland, invented to frighten freed slaves. However, the first evidence for snallygaster follows snollygoster by about a hundred years, making a connection (in this direction, at least) unlikely.
*Tigon: the hybrid offspring of a male tiger and a lioness. A liger is the offspring produced by a male lion and a tigress.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This book is as wonderful as the weird words in it. McKean, editor of Verbatim and a dictionary editor at Oxford, has culled all manner of words that either sound unusual or mean something unusual. Have you ever heard of an otacust or a gallnipper? Have you ever worbled or been exauctorated? If not, you are missing something. Word lovers everywhere will have a great deal of fun with this book. In addition to the dictionary-style presentation, essays are sprinkled throughout (e.g., the fascinating "Irregular and Incredible Illnesses-Many Words for Diseases"), and a concluding essay explains how to create your own weird and wonderful words. To add to the reader's joy, McKean has included quirky and amazing illustrations by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast that add to the book's flavor and make it that much more intriguing. Because this book is meant to be fun rather than academic, there are no etymologies or pronunciation guides and not much detail for many of the words. But it doesn't really matter because the mandate here is silliness and fun. Funambulists, seplasiaries, and word lovers everywhere surely will want this book.-Manya S. Chylinski, Ctr. for Business Knowledge, Ernst & Young, Boston Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up-Arranged alphabetically, this volume of unusual words defines terms from "aboulia the loss of will or volition, as a mental illness" to "Zyrian a former term for Komi, a language spoken by a people living in an area of northern Russia west of the Urals." Some sections on individual letters include discussions of certain types of words, such as those describing anatomy, illnesses, scientific "-logies," and "Peculiar and Prodigious Pigs." Whimsical black-and-white drawings are the highlights of the book. While amusing in their own right, they serve to illustrate the meanings of many of the words and their use in sentences. The volume concludes with sections on "How to Create Your Own Weird and Wonderful Words," Web sites that focus on the English language, and a bibliography of Oxford dictionaries. While this book may be interesting to logophiles, average readers may be frustrated by the lack of pronunciation guides for these unfamiliar words.-Linda Wadleigh, Oconee County Middle School, Watkinsville, GA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195159059
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 501,431
  • Product dimensions: 8.75 (w) x 5.75 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Erin McKean is the Senior Editor for the Oxford University Press North American Dictionary Program and the Editor of Verbatim magazine.
Roz Chast is a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker and the author of more than five books of cartoons.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)