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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.