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One-Letter Words, a Dictionary Hardcover – November 1, 2005

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Anyone who thinks the letter "a" alone can mean only one thing is sorely mistaken; Conley, a linguist, editor and textbook coauthor, enumerates at least fifty ways it has been used, including as a representation of "waking consciousness" and as the classification for the lightest weight of sandpaper. Conley, who has compiled several other quirky dictionaries, became a sort of cult hero when he put an early edition of this one online, where it garnered a huge following among people surfing the web for the odd and amusing. For each letter, Conley gives dozens of meanings, which he often supports with citations from literature, science and pop culture. The definitions are arranged in groups like "shapes and sizes," military and "people, places, things," some of which are common to most letters and others that pertain to only one, like "exertions of power," which has two entries under "d." Conley's own explanations are brief; the bulk of the book is taken up by quotations where he found a particular usage, and these come from sources as diverse as Joyce's Ulysses, Winnie-the-Pooh and the American Medical Association. Many of the instances Conley refers to are arcane or technical, and he does a cursory job of explaining the project and justifying his methods, so some entries will leave readers baffled. (Consider "v-bob": "a strong frame shaped like an isosceles triangle, turning on a pivot at its axis, and used as a bell crank to change the direction of a main pump rod.") Even so, anyone fascinated by language (and especially fans of word games like Scrabble) will be thrilled with this unique resource.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Craig Conley is an established teacher and author with a long history of writing for schools and public libraries. For nine years he was an instructor of composition, literature, and study skills at universities and community colleges in Tennessee, Virginia, and Florida.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060798734
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060798734
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 1 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,505,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I bought this book after hearing the author speak about it on NPR. I have since re-ordered and am online to re-order again as friends who found it on my coffee table could not put it down. It's far more than the clever concept even promises. The author essentially takes you on a journey through literature and you'll see words in an entirely new light.
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Format: Hardcover
Can be enjoyed on so many levels. It is fun and scholarly. This is not a 'dry' little dictionary, but an adventure through facts you knew, but had forgotten ("E" is the Roman Numeral for 250); obvious, but hadn't thought about (how prominent the letter "E" is in our electronic world); or just didn't know (most of Emily Dickinson's poems begin with the word "I"). Like me, my friends are surprised at what an entertaining and thoughtful book Mr. Conley has written. Can't wait for his next one.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I borrowed this book from a friend and realized there is much more to it than a once-through read. It is filled with great literary references, spun together by a clearly erudite scholar. I purchased my own and highly recommend it to anyone who has an appreciation for language and/or literature!! FIVE STARS are not enough!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very useful and entertaining. Can.t wait for the next family scrabble game. No cheating allowed on the games here.sayanara Angola.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This will definitely have you rethinking how you express yourself if you are a writer. This is a great writer resouce!
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