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The Endangered English Dictionary: Bodacious Words Your Dictionary Forgot Paperback – August 17, 1997

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Sometimes it seems that there are as many collections of archaic words as there are archaic words. Most of them are amusing in their own esoteric sort of way, but few aim for more than entertainment value. David Grambs watches over words gone (or going) by in the same way that the National Wildlife Federation watches over grizzly bears and timber wolves. He would like his readers to think of his Endangered English Dictionary as "a constant reminder of the words that could have been, that fell through the cracks. Or--" he challenges, "if you and enough others make imaginative use of this book--that still could become part of our everyday usage." Toward this goal, Grambs has chosen "common-use, nontechnical words," and he has arranged his book as a two-way dictionary.

So if you are looking for a compact way to describe something--a flower, say--that smells strongest at night, try "noctuolucent." If you were a delicate blossom, or even a whole "tuzzymuzzy" (a bunch of flowers), you too might wish to avoid the "sizzard" (unbearably humid heat) of summer days. --Jane Steinberg

From Library Journal

Grambs (The Describer's Dictionary, LJ 2/ 15/93) includes entries here not usually found in smaller paperback dictionaries- for example, "habile," which means able or skillful, and "uvid," which means moist or wet. His book is arranged in standard dictionary form with simplified meanings and usage illustrations, such as "dangerously esquillous lumber" (meaning splintery). The work also includes an easy pronunciation system and a reverse glossary that allows the user to look up words by definition. The entries have been largely compiled from the OED, the second and third editions of Webster's New International Dictionary, and Funk & Wagnall's Standard Dictionary. Libraries that already own several of these dictionaries or at least one good one and a thesaurus will have little need for this title. Recommended only for libraries that collect heavily in this area.
Neal Wyatt, Mary Washington Coll. Lib., Fredericksburg, Va.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (August 17, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393316068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393316063
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #820,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Although it stretches the imagination that such words as "infrangelic" and "mysot" can be casually used in day to day conversation, the words garnered by Mr. Grambs are just plain fun. Even for people with only a casual interest in English or writing will find this book strangely compelling. It's a book that is just a hit or a miss. My family is filled with big readers. My father found it boring. My mother bought her own copy within a couple of days. My brother put it down in a minute. My sister-law read it almost straight through. The book will allow you to almost always get the last "word."
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Format: Paperback
With the exception of the word "bodacious" (perhaps because a Chicago radio personality called himself "Bodacious So-and-So", and I found him annoying beyond measure, this is a terrific book. It's strength is that it has a reverse glossary, so that it functions, in a way, as a thesaurus. If you want an archaic word that pertains to acting, you'd never find it without a reverse glossary. With it, you find "roscian". Roscius was a roman actor who died around 67 bc, so "roscian" refers to certain styles of acting that reflect his emotive techniques.

Also, just flipping through the pages is fun. You find words jump out at you.

sizzard: unbearably humid heat

eupsychics: good education

cymotrichous: having wavy hair

Most importantly, the author uses the word in a sentence fragment, so that we know not only its definition, but its intended usage.
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Format: Paperback
Of the dozens of books I own on obscure, bizarre, and fascinating words, The Endangered English Dictionary is probably my favorite. David Grambs does not merely include obscure terms that have fallen into desuetude. Instead, he provides unusual words that are highly useful even today, be they employed in thought alone or in speech. I was in awe of our wonderful language when I began to read this book. It's the perfect gift for that sesquipedalian verbivore you know and love.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book for finding some of the most colorful and intersting words you will ever hear. The problem with learning the words is that some of them are so articlate and descriptive yet no one will understand you when you use them. This of course can lead to bouts of frustration. What a shame to have such great words yet not be able to use them.
The book is very accessible and readible due to the larger type size, nice font and cogent definitions.
Now for a personal note to anyone who wants to read on: I bought this book while in Graduate School at Andrews University in MI. I was taking the most boring of all boring classes being instructed by a teacher who was pulled in at the last minute to teach a class he knew nothing about. While the boring lectures continued day after day as so many cars on a train I read this book cover to cover and made note cards of all the interesting words. Now I have easy access to all the words that struck me most. And for amusement during certain verbivorous moments I like to review and ponder.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is much more than just a novelty item, and the reverse glossary at the end of the book makes it very useful. It's interesting to read through this book and find obscure words, but before you indigitate your next project at work, you would do well to consult the Oxford English Dictionary and see if the word actually exists, and if so what the official definition might be.
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