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The superior person's book of words by…

The superior person's book of words (original 1979; edition 1982)

by Peter Bowler

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934514,832 (3.63)8
To greet the holidays, we are gathering into one affordable, attractive package all three of the invaluable volumes that comprise Mr. Bowler's timeless trilogy, & issuing them in a boxed set. The author's purpose in compiling these small, elegant, & edifying works is to give readers "a more finely tuned engine of the language they speak, so they may more readily assert their linguistic superiority over their fellow travellers at the traffic stops of life." Yes, it is all here, a panoply of 1,800 arcane but totally plausible words that neither you nor your loved ones has ever heard, plus textual advice on how to use them to confound your friends, irritate your enemies, & impress your superiors. There's yet more: anecdotes of eccentric scholars, the unbelievable & irrevocable mistakes of the rich & famous, examples of idiotic concepts, & further oddities & curiosities of the so-called intellectual life.… (more)
Title:The superior person's book of words
Authors:Peter Bowler
Info:Boston : D.R. Godine, 1985, c1982.
Collections:Your library, printbooks

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The Superior Person's Book of Words by Peter Bowler (1979)


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Showing 5 of 5
The author contends that "A Superior Person ins not defined by income, class, or sex. A Superior Person uses Superior Speech." He then provides an alphabetical list of some very fun, and definitely obscure words, like vecordious and lucripetous and papuliferous. His definitions and examples of usage are often quite humorous (such as offering as an example of an oxymoron "delicious sauerkraut"), and there are intermittent very funny, whimsical illustrations by Dennis Corrigan. My one complaint is that there is no guide for pronunciation, so whenever I have wanted to use one of these words, I have had to go look it up in another book. Admittedly, I wouldn't have known even to look up the word had I not seen it in this book, but it would have been nice to have everything in one volume. ( )
  nbmars | Jul 31, 2014 |
I do not remember the last time I found the premise of a book to be so off-putting. From the outset, the author states his purpose quite plainly: “Words are not only tools; they are also weapons. The first object of this book is to provide the ordinary man in the street with new and better verbal weapons.” Really? A volume devoted to introducing readers to archaic, little-used words with which they can humiliate and belittle their friends and colleagues? It has been a while since I read Dante, but I think he designated one of the nines circles in the Inferno to people who do things like this.

After introducing many of the words—which are conveniently placed in alphabetical order, although this book falls far short of qualifying as a dictionary—Fowler instructs us on how to best use them to our advantage. For instance, after defining ‘noisome’ as noxious or smelly, he notes that “Much quiet satisfaction can be derived from putting your head around the door of your younger brother’s room, saying ‘It’s rather noisome in here, isn’t it’ and hearing him turn down his stereo as you go on your way.” Hilarious, absolutely hilarious!

Ultimately, this amounts to nothing more than a silly little book of synonyms for words and expressions that are conveyed more simply and effectively thousands of times every single day. Is the goal of such a list to improve our collective speech by making it more colorful or precise? Hardly. Here is the author’s entire entry for ‘mucilage’: “The Superior Person does not use gum, glue, or paste. He or she uses mucilage.” Superior, indeed. ( )
2 vote browner56 | Jan 11, 2011 |
Very Useful
  Ipsofacto | Aug 1, 2008 |
  Budzul | May 31, 2008 |
A short dictionary of obscure English words, with suggestions on how to use them to impress, tease and baffle others. Humourous, but rather silly. ( )
1 vote tripleblessings | Jul 16, 2006 |
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Be warned in time, James, and remain, as I do, incomprehensible: to be great is to be misunderstood.
Oscar Wilde
To Astrid
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Prolegomena: Words are not only tools; they are also weapons.
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