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The Superior Person's Book of Words

by Peter Bowler

ISBN 087923556X / 9780879235567 / 0-87923-556-X
Publisher David R Godine
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

The avowed purpose of this witty little book is to equip the reader to be the superior person of the title by expanding the vocabulary of the rare and arcane ("Secret, hidden. An excellent example of a Superior Word of the first order, ie, one that is on the margin of recognition for most people, is known to many, but used by few."). You can then indulge in the arts of parisology ("The deliberate pursuit of ambiguity in one's language") or charientism ("An elegantly veiled insult"), using terms such as fungible ("Replaceable by, or acceptable as a replacement for, a similar item ... Your sister's latest boyfriend could be referred to as 'one of Belinda's fungibles."). Or challenge the pretentious who insist on using terms such as matrix, parameter or paradigm ("Model, pattern, or example. A pretentious and unnecessary word, normally found only in psychology theses. Never use this word yourself, but be prepared, when it is used by another, to lean forward intently, narrow your eyes, and say, 'Just a moment--do you really mean "paradigm" in that context?' When, somewhat bemused, he avers that he does, you merely raise your eyebrows and remain silent..."). You will also have a remarkable collection of words for minor but serious-sounding illnesses to get you out of doing chores, and be able to drive Scrabble players wild with words ranging from aeaeae ("magic") to zaftig ("desirably plump").

A nicely produced hardback, just the right size for dipping into in bed, this would make an excellent present for your favourite word-lover or word-game fanatic. --Julia Cresswell [via]