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Weird and Wonderful Words by Erin McKean

Weird and Wonderful Words

by Erin McKean

Other authors: Roz Chast (Illustrator), Simon Winchester (Foreword)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erin McKeanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chast, RozIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Winchester, SimonForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0195159055, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:51 -0400)

Lists the meaning of hundreds of bizarre and unusual words and includes a guide to coining new words.

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