Synopses & Reviews
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.
This history of tort law in America looks at how the subject has been conceptualized, pointing out why changes in rules occurred, and who did the changing. White approaches his subject from four perspectives: intellectual history, the sociology of knowledge, the phenomenon of
professionalization in the late 19th and 20th centuries in America, and the recurrent concerns of tort law since it became a discrete field.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 126-132).
About the Author
Erin McKean is the Senior Editor for the Oxford University Press North American Dictionary Program and the Editor of Verbatim
Roz Chast is a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker and the author of more than five books of cartoons.