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Writer's Digest Flip Dictionary
ISBN 0898799767 / 9780898799767 / 0-89879-976-7
Publisher Writers Digest Books
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"Omit needless words," intone Strunk and White in The Elements of Style; "use definite, specific, concrete language." In order to use the best word for the job, though, you have to know it. The Flip Dictionary is full of words you may have forgotten and words you never knew, all accessed by their meaning. Look up "mounds and hills, with," and you will find tumulus. Search "the ropes connecting the harness and the canopy of a parachute," and you'll find shrouds. There's no need to say "lowest point in orbit" when you can say perigee, or "lowest deck of a ship" when you can say orlop. We don't know when we'd ever find a chance to use the word tomally, but we like knowing the one word out there that means "lobster liver." And, oh, the lists! Of apples and art movements, beers and birding terms, constellations and clothes (including 47 kinds of shirt), fears and ferns. The same caveats apply as with the use of a thesaurus: some of the definitions are a bit off ("hater" is vague for misanthrope), others are rather informal (boner, for instance, to mean "error"), and still others are so specific that you will want to be sure that you truly have found the right word for the job. Great fun. --Jane Steinberg [via]