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The Meaning of Liff Hardcover – March 7, 1984

4.5 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 122 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony Books Random House Crown; 1st edition (March 7, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517553473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517553473
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #867,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The idea behind The Meaning of Liff, first published in 1983, as well as The Deeper Meaning of Liff, which followed seven years later, is actually quite simple. As the authors put it: there are hundreds of common experiences, feelings, situations and even objects which we all know and recognize, but for which no word exists. On the other hand, the world is littered with thousands of spare words doing nothing but loafing about on signposts pointing at places.
Douglas Adams - the one of the Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy fame - and John Lloyd have done their best trying to pair the two. Just for the gusto, here's an example of dictionary entry: Wyoming (ptcpl.vb.) Moving in hurried desperation from one cubicle to another in a public lavatory trying to find one which has a lock on the door, a seat on the bowl and no brown streaks on the seat.
Although The Deeper Meaning of Liff is significantly expanded in size over the original, I guess I would choose the latter. While The Meaning of Liff mostly covers place names from the Britain, the expansions seem to be predominantly reaching abroad, resulting in somewhat diluted compendium. After all, there is some logic that English place names are fitting best in an English dictionary, isn't it?
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By A Customer on August 31, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I have only been able to read this book by uploading it from different websites. However, in response to the question of WHERE CAN I FIND THE FIRST ONE? you already have it. I've seen reviews and summaries that explain that the deeper meaning of liff is just the original meaning of liff but with extra entries. Realizing this has cleared up a lot of confusion on my part, and i hope it helps out others.
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Format: Hardcover
Monty-python-esque approach to language...this is the British version of what in America are called "sniglets", little neo-logisms invented for things and situations which don't have proper words to designate them but ought to. The difference is that these creations ala Douglas Adams & John Lloyd use already existing town names in the UK and re-define them to make them useful (and funny)...this is altogether different from American sniglets like "bevemirage" (the black plastic bottom of a liter bottle of dark cola that fools you temporarily into thinking there is more cola left in the bottle than there actually is), which tend to be creative word-fusions of already existing words. The only U.S. linguistic construction I can think of that comes close to what Lloyd and Adams are doing here is the phrase "in a New York Minute", aka "really fast". Though there is no collorary such as "in a Topeka minute" (or whatever) to mean slow, drawn out (but maybe there ought to be). I bought this book in the UK for £4.99 GPB, but it seems it's out of print here in the USA, alas. Probably out of print in Britain also. Well worth it, if you stumble across a copy!
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By A Customer on April 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is a brilliant little book. It contains words for all those annoying things that there ought to be words for but aren't. For example: 'the precise distance between your outstretched fingers and the ticket sticking out of the machine at the gate entrance to a parking lot'. If you want something to make you giggle, this is the book!
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Format: Hardcover
(Attention, if not warning: this comment contains two or so profanities. When confronted with them, just block your eyes then, eh??! OK, great!!:)
I've tried 'em all, Webster's, Oxford's, Cambridge's, but none of those dictionaries ever really made sense to me. I mean, I could not possibly care less how many people live in a town named Aalst (nothing personal, Aalst, but that's where I always gave up)??! It wasn't until I found a small, black, paperback with some graved letters on the cover, that I was able to enjoy anything else more than the phonebook!!!
I didn't, for example, know that I ski with Zeal Monachorum before I read THE MEANING OF LIFF. Nor did I know that Aird of Sleat was placed upon Heathrow Airport!! Thanks for warning me, Doug and John!! Also, this little black book can help all of us, when, for example, confronted with a glossop, or what we did, when someone says we've just commited a wigan. Now I can play golf AND enjoy it as well!!! Instead of the frustrating how-many-bogies-have-I-got count, I just count Whaplode droves. Then this once-useless game finally has an amusing purpose.
No, really. This book, alongside being pantwettingly funny, is, in my opinion, an honest and respectable attempt to save the English language from a violent and tragic destruction. For English, as it exists today, is becoming a language of three words: .... This book, and indeed the Deeper Meaning Of Liff as well, is a guide to help us all to save this beautiful language (as all languages are).
At least my Liff has a Deeper Meaning now.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A hugely funny and original idea, wittily expressed, that makes me cry with laughter. I particularly love the definitions that apply to the place of my birth, Sutton and Cheam. I don't think "genius" is too extreme for the quality of this work: the apex of British humour and Weltanschauung. Don't be scared by that earnest endorsement ... it is just that I sense that the concept and its realization appeal to a particular set of sensibilities, and my English friends and relations love it while some more solemn friends do not, alas, get it. I know that I will treasure this book and return to it often. It is very dippable-into - but on the other hand, I find once I look, I can't stop reading "just one more".
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