Automotive Holiday Deals Books Gift Guide Books Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Train egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Beauty Deals Gifts for Her Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Cyber Monday Deals Classics and Essentials in CDs & Vinyl Outdoor Deals on DOTD
REf Dictionaries Atlas Language Guides Writing Guides Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Weird and Wonderful Words

15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195159059
ISBN-10: 0195159055
Why is ISBN important?
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$6.27 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$14.44 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
40 New from $2.98 76 Used from $0.01 1 Collectible from $9.96
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student

Get Up to 80% Back Rent Textbooks
$14.44 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 13 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Weird and Wonderful Words
  • +
  • Totally Weird and Wonderful Words
Total price: $21.81
Buy the selected items together

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up-Arranged alphabetically, this volume of unusual words defines terms from "aboulia the loss of will or volition, as a mental illness" to "Zyrian a former term for Komi, a language spoken by a people living in an area of northern Russia west of the Urals." Some sections on individual letters include discussions of certain types of words, such as those describing anatomy, illnesses, scientific "-logies," and "Peculiar and Prodigious Pigs." Whimsical black-and-white drawings are the highlights of the book. While amusing in their own right, they serve to illustrate the meanings of many of the words and their use in sentences. The volume concludes with sections on "How to Create Your Own Weird and Wonderful Words," Web sites that focus on the English language, and a bibliography of Oxford dictionaries. While this book may be interesting to logophiles, average readers may be frustrated by the lack of pronunciation guides for these unfamiliar words.
Linda Wadleigh, Oconee County Middle School, Watkinsville, GA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This book is as wonderful as the weird words in it. McKean, editor of Verbatim and a dictionary editor at Oxford, has culled all manner of words that either sound unusual or mean something unusual. Have you ever heard of an otacust or a gallnipper? Have you ever worbled or been exauctorated? If not, you are missing something. Word lovers everywhere will have a great deal of fun with this book. In addition to the dictionary-style presentation, essays are sprinkled throughout (e.g., the fascinating "Irregular and Incredible Illnesses-Many Words for Diseases"), and a concluding essay explains how to create your own weird and wonderful words. To add to the reader's joy, McKean has included quirky and amazing illustrations by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast that add to the book's flavor and make it that much more intriguing. Because this book is meant to be fun rather than academic, there are no etymologies or pronunciation guides and not much detail for many of the words. But it doesn't really matter because the mandate here is silliness and fun. Funambulists, seplasiaries, and word lovers everywhere surely will want this book.
Manya S. Chylinski, Ctr. for Business Knowledge, Ernst & Young, Boston
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (October 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195159055
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195159059
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.6 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Erin McKean is the founder of Previously, she was the editor in chief for American Dictionaries at Oxford University Press, and the editor of the New Oxford American Dictionary, 2E.

Her books include Weird and Wonderful Words, More Weird and Wonderful Words, Totally Weird and Wonderful Words, and That's Amore (which is also a collection of words). The Secret Lives of Dresses is her first novel, and really, her first book where the words are arranged in something other than alphabetical order.

Erin lives in California south of San Francisco and spends her free time reading, sewing, blogging, roller-skating, and arguing about whether robots or zombies would win in a fight (lasers optional). She loves loud prints, quiet people, long books with happy endings, and McVitie's Milk Chocolate Hobnobs.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jo Lydon on September 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I saw this book in the New York Times Language column and thought it would make a great gift for my dad, who loves words and crossword puzzles. I started flipping thru it and got hooked. The words aren't boring or stuffy at all, even though a lot of them are long (my favorite was zedonk, the chlid of a donkey and a zebra) and the cartoons are really funny, too.
I only wish there were more words in it. Maybe they'll do a Weird Words 2. I'm going to keep this one and order another one for my dad.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Daniel L Pratt on March 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Word lovers should find this book highly entertaining. The selected words include some of my personal favorites, and a great many words completely new to me, some of which are new favorites. The illustrations are ho-hum and may lead many readers to wish the space had been used for more words. Luckily, the compiler plans a collection of weirder and wonderfuller words, which will be given some prosaic title by the publisher.
One caveat: there are some racy entries, not enough to spur sales, but enough to give the book an X rating in some households and a PG-13 in many. Too bad, as the book would otherwise be an excellent inspiration for many a young wordsmith. Perhaps the compiler can be persuaded to gather a similar collection of words, like "googol", of interest to children and adults alike. If only this collection had been just a shade more verecund!
I'll let you buy the book if you want to know the precise meanings of logodaedaly and verecund.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Walter Reade on December 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic book for the logophile! It contains plenty of odd, unusual, rare, and otherwise interesting words, along with their definition. A pleasant layout and humorous illustrations keep the book on the lighter side. While there are a number of such books available, this stands out with supplementary materials such as "How to create you own weird and wonderful words," "A Webliography of Weird and Wonderful Word Sites," and "The Logophile's Bibliography."
My only complaint is that there is no pronunciation included with each entry. This is a relatively small issue, and the only thing keeping the book from a 5-star rating.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This informative, entertaining and amusing reference explains the meaning of hundreds of the most bizarre, astonishing and interesting words that, although technically a part of the English lexicon, have been laid aside from our everyday conversations and are now forgotten and waiting to be found.
Organized alphabetically in a dictionary format, each entry, written in a conversational style, provides a clear definition of a specific word. It often includes the word's origin, and sometimes it's accompanied by a humorous drawing that serves to illustrate both the word's meaning and its usage.
The book also contains a few particular and very funny sections that deal with groups of related words: anatomical terms, names of illnesses, words that begin with the letter "x," and words that end in "logy," among others.
Another hilarious section is "How to Create Your Own Weird and Wonderful Words," intended as a practical guide to help you coin your own unusual vocabulary by using Greek and Latin roots and loose linguistic rules to insure the most legitimate sounding spellings and pronunciation.
As a bonus, especially for those of us interested in doing some further reading, the author also supplies a list of web sites that feature the history and curiosities of the English language, and a list of Oxford dictionaries and reference books.
The only thing missing from this volume is a pronunciation guide, otherwise it is the perfect way to discover, by either direct consultation or casual browsing, the unusual words like ascesis, passiuncle and illywhacker, that decorate our language.
This book is a must-buy for word enthusiasts or trivia lovers alike.
--Reviewed by M. E. Volmar
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Erin McKean, author of this wonderful book, has been called "America’s Lexicographical Sweetheart" by Neal Conan on NPR. If this book is any indication I would have to say he is spot on. If you love words and are interested in adding more to your vocabulary this is the book for you. She has many nannicocks (an obsolete and rare word) in this particular book.

Some of my favorites are: couthy = to describe a person as 'warm and friendly' or a place as 'cosy and comfortable.'
gallinipper = a large mosquito.
hogo= a stink.
fawky = means foggy, damp, and cold, as in a rawky day or rawky weather.
selcouth = unfamiliar, rare, strange, marvelous, wonderful.
wabbit = exhausted or slightly unwell as in "I'm feeling a bit wabbit."

These are just a few of the wonderful and beautiful words contained in this edition. This is a collection of really out-of-the-way lexical items and words you have probably never heard of before which if you are a wordsmith is just what you have been looking for. The words are in alphabetical order with mini essays on their meanings along with cartoons to illustrate some of the words. There's even a chapter at the end of the book for how to create your own words, very useful for an aspiring author.

You can either peruse it in order or flip to any page and be utterly amazed and amused. But it appears I am being a bablatrice (a female babbler) as I keep going on and on about what a wonderful book this is. Buy it and see for yourself.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Weird and Wonderful Words
This item: Weird and Wonderful Words
Price: $14.44
Ships from and sold by

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: vocabulary, portuguese dictionary, vocabulary in use