Cover image for More weird and wonderful words
More weird and wonderful words
McKean, Erin.
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiii, 130 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PE1449 .M625 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Wouldn't you like to use proctomorph in your everyday conversation--or at least feel as if you could? How about singerie? Or rememble? Following the smash hit Weird and Wonderful Words, editor Erin McKean has dug deeper into forgotten corners of the dictionary gathering both the most spectacular old and the most impressive new words. The result is more than four hundred prime specimens (with pronunciations!), defined in aconversational style and perfect for adding to your own collection of favorites. Guaranteed to amuse and astonish, accompanied by full-page illustrations by New Yorker cartoonist Danny Shanahan, these words will appeal to logophiles everywhere. In addition to its wonderful offerings, the book also features a guide to finding new words, a guide to the best word websites, andan annotated bibliography of essential Oxford dictionaries. More Weird and Wonderful Words: anopisthograph: something that has writing on only one side (usually paper, although you could pedantically use this for things like t-shirts or billboards). Anopisthography is the practice of writing on only one side of something, a policy disdained by those who know how to make that 1-to-2 buttonon the copy machine work. (Opisthography is the practice of writing on both sides.) (from Greek words that mean "written on the back or cover.") mesonoxian: of or related to midnight. "What are your mesonoxian plans?" sounds so much better on Dec. 31 than "Hey, whatcha doin' tonight?" ichoglan: a page waiting in the palace of the Sultan. (from Turkish words that mean "interior" and "young man."). In this definition, 'waiting' obviously means 'serving,' but it's so much more poetic to understand it as 'to stay in expectation of.' What is he waiting FOR? Alas, the Sultan has fled,and we will never know.

Author Notes

Erin McKean is the Senior Editor for the Oxford University Press North American Dictionary Program
Danny Shanahan is a staff cartoonist for the New Yorker and illustrator of numerous books

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Lexicographer McKean, editor of Verbatim magazine, has combed the Oxford English Dictionary to come up with more than 400 choice items for this amusing dictionary of rarely used words. Perhaps you've recently been guilty of acrasia ("the state of mind in which you act against your better judgment"). Perhaps you need a new synonym for "slut": Drazel will do quite nicely. Or perhaps you've been offended but are willing to offer the guilty party ignoscency ("forgiveness"). You may never find a reason to use the word "dromaeognathous" ("having a palate like that of an emu"), but just encountering it here could brighten your day. New Yorker cartoonist Shanahan adds a touch of whimsy to the enterprise with his comic illustrations. Lighthearted and instructive, this small volume would make a good gift book for eccentric wordsmiths or grammarians. (Dec.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Review

This follow-up to Weird and Wonderful Words (2002), also edited by McKean, includes 400 "more weird and wonderful words" that are all interesting and fun-filled and that most of us would probably not discover on our own. McKean, senior editor for the Oxford University Press North American Dictionary Project, has gleaned some fascinating words for our enjoyment. Each word is followed by a pronunciation (imagined but of course not spoken for many years) and a short definition. Ever wondered whether there was a shorter way to say "the day before yesterday"? This dictionary offers nudiustertian. One may, of course, pick favorites, such as drumble ("to move in a slow or sluggish way, to be lazy") or nocency ("the opposite of innocence"), or just become familiar with new words. However one choose to utilize this book, it is well worth the purchase, even if the words can't be worked into general conversation. Also included are a webliography, which lists web sites that deal with words in various ways, and a logophile's bibliography, which describes various dictionaries and reference works. Danny Shanahan's illustrations, like his New Yorker cartoons, add humor while clarifying the words, while famed verbophile Richard Lederer reminds us in his foreword that "there are lots of things and ideas in the universe that actually do have names, even though hardly anybody knows them." A welcome addition to all public library collections.-Marilyn Searson Lary, North Georgia Coll. & State Univ. Lib., Dahlonega (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. vii
The A-Z of More Weird and Wonderful Wordsp. 3
Finding New Weird and Wonderful Wordsp. 118
A Webliography of Weird and Wonderful Word Sitesp. 123
The Logophile's Bibliographyp. 127