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Mrs. Byrne's Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure, and Preposterous Words Expanded Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1559722339
ISBN-10: 1559722339
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

First it must be known that all 6000 weird words lovingly compiled by Mrs. Byrne are "real" English words, legitimized by at least one major dictionary. That said, the inclusions are delightfully ludicrous, unfailingly obscure and often sadly missing from common parlance. The English language seems the poorer without "furfuraceous" (covered with dandruff), "omphaloskepsis" (meditation while gazing at one's navel) or "blabagogy" (a criminal environment). It's the most addictively interesting dictionary imaginable. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Carol Publishing; Expanded edition (January 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559722339
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559722339
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,116,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This informative, well-researched, very interesting, unique reference presents the meaning of 6000 of the most outlandish, eccentric, and strange legitimate words that are part of our English language. Each word's definition is clearly and fully explained, complete with its pronunciation and sometimes even a reference to its language of origin.
This comprehensive volume is a wonderful resource for trivia enthusiasts and people who just love words, language and slang, and it's perfect for offhanded browsing.
So, if you want to know if you've ever jargogled, marmarized or edulcolated anything, if anyone you know is psittaceous, valgus or a gobemouche, or what a diplasiasmus, a krobylos or lares and penates are, then this is the book for you.
Although most of the words contained in this volume are not fit for use in everyday conversations, this is still a fun way to discover new words with precise, astonishing and even outrageous meanings.
Overall, this book is a delightful, entertaining source of curious words and intriguing terms just waiting to be found.
--Reviewed by M. E. Volmar
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By A Customer on January 11, 1997
Format: Paperback
My copy of Mrs. Byrne's Dictionary is, by far, the most dilapidated, dog-eared, written-upon and coffee-stained book now in my possession.

It is not because I hate the book that I have so thoroughly destroyed it. It is, rather, the fact that I refer to it all the time, and take copious notes -- which wind up all over its pages.

If you love words, this is the book I would recommend. You will find an inexhaustible supply of some of the most arcane and ludibund words in our language within these pages.

A great gift for the rantallion in us all!

Dave Beckwith

Founder/President

Charlotte Internet Society
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Format: Hardcover
I was given an earlier printing of this book when I first learned to read, and I think it has something to do with my childhood nickname of "Dictionary Breath." It has remained among my most treasured possessions!

While some of the words don't really seem to merit an entry in this book over its a delightful collection. There are some words such as "grassation" (to lie in wait to attack) which are so incredibly useful I don't know why they aren't in more common circulation.

I would like to see the etymology included, but speculating about a word's etymology and then looking it up elsewhere has become part of the game for me and my friends.
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Format: Paperback
A wonderful resource for logophiles who have already searched through a standard unabridged dictionary. If you love words, you will love this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this for my son when he was 10. He wore it to tatters, so I am here on Amazon to replace it for him. He's now 15, and has been bemoaning it's loss for about a year. He used to carry this around and use it as an ice breaker, and other kids his age thought it was really cool. He's gone on to Shakespeare, Plato, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Keys to the Kingdom etc.but Mrs. Byrnes remains his all time favorite book.

Dictionaries are rarely considered pleasure reading, but this one definately fits that bill. An advantage for a young reader is that they can get a lot of knowledge without reading a lot. Yup - Intellectual fast food. Could be addictive.
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Format: Hardcover
Etymology is a guilty pleasure of mine-- and this book is the guiltiest of them all! Deliciously obscure words all at my fingertips...what more could i ask for. This copy was hard to come by... i think it's out of print now and so if you happen to see a used copy somewhere, no matter how dog-earred, grab it! You won't be disappointed. It's a gem.
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Format: Unknown Binding
Whether you are a sectary compiler of sesquipedelian logisms or simply wish to eschew obfuscation, here is an entertaining collection of words of the English language you are unlikely to find anywhere else, from aasvogel to zzxjoanw. My only misgiving is that the etymologies are not included, though some of the definitions state the source of the word if it is sufficiently unfamiliar. Linguists and wordsmiths will delight in this collection.
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Format: Paperback
I just met Mrs. Byrne's dictionary at the home of a linguist. A houseful of brilliant linguists, and almost none had heard of any of the words. But they laughed and enjoyed them tremendously. Now I'm ordering a copy.
Though the author's intro says that all the words have been found in at least one reputable dictionary, some of these appear to be nonce words (no more established in use than a sniglet), while others are merely obscure. But both kinds are entertaining!
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