(For those new to the game, this is a book written by Ammon Shea, a man who set himself the challenge of reading all twenty volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary. The book is a treasury of all the most interesting words he found.)
Bit disappointed, to be honest. I disagreed with the author's idea of "interesting words". It's all very well when a word means "goat urine used for medicinal purposes", but if it's got eighteen syllables and is unpronounceable, who cares?
The trouble with the book is that it cares more about funny definitions than it does about ones you'd be able to use. Like those endless lists of phobias, the words are unpronounceable and totally without context.
YOU: So how did you like the new Jim Carrey movie?
ME: I did not like it. I have superfluophobia.
YOU: That means nothing to me.
ME: Well, I thought the film was a blatant case of quomodocuquization.
YOU: Fine, I'll bite. What the hell do you mean?
ME: I mean, it was an attempt to make money in any way possible.
YOU: You should just leave.
I know what you're thinking. You don't know what any of the words mean. If I used any of them in a sentence you'd react the same way: "Huh? Oh, wait, I don't care." But I don't think you would. The words I'm thinking of are almost self-evident in meaning. When I use them in context, you will intuitively understand what I mean.
There were a handful of words in Reading the OED that do illustrate what I mean. Here are the ones I feel are worth mentioning. (Skip down past the purple part if you don't care.)
philodox. noun.Otherwise, I'd be perfectly happy never to read the words obdormition,* peristeronic,** tacturiency*** and tricoteuse**** ever again. I don't care how awesome or useful their definitions are.
A person who loves their own opinions.
"Bloody philodox. He just loves the sound of his own voice".
Also philodoxy, philodoxical.
A person who uses liberal amounts of sarcasm. Not that there are many of those around.
Apparently, the word sarcasm is derived from the Greek sarkazien, which translates to "to tear flesh like dogs". Pretty nasty.
To shake (when referring to something soft or flabby).
"His jowls were quagging with indignation."
To stomp in applause.
"He took a deep bow, and his audience ruffed and cheered."
Something that is worth less than it seems.
"She was constantly wasting her money on this or that piece of trumpery."
Of or pertaining to breakfast.
"Ah, the jentacular joys of the pancake!"
To argue or debate while naked.
The official definition adds, "in the tradition of an Indian philosopher", but whatever. Let's be honest. Most naked arguments have very little philosophical content.
I might want to mention the concepts, but I wouldn't choose those words.
* obdormition. noun.Is anyone interested in more posts about crazy old words? I've got a bunch more (of the good kind) that I'd love to share... but only if you care.
When your foot falls asleep.
** peristeronic. adjective.
Suggestive of pigeons.
*** tacturiency. noun.
The desire to touch.
**** tricoteuse. noun.
A person who knits while attending beheadings.