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Shvoong Home>Books>Reference>THE SUPERIOR PERSON"S SECOND BOOK OF WEIRD AND WONDROUS WORDS Review

THE SUPERIOR PERSON"S SECOND BOOK OF WEIRD AND WONDROUS WORDS

Book Review   by:maniam     Original Author: PETER BOWLER
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·en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexicographer ·It appears there is no end to the plethora of words pouring into English language! And English, the all embracing ocean of a language, won"t burst at the seams! Here is a book of Peter Bowler, an Australian lexicographer specialising on esoteric and unusual words. His first book published in 1985, The Superior Person's Book of Words, was followed by two more-- The Superior Person's Second Book of Weird and Wondrous Words , and The Superior Person's Third Book of Well-Bred Words .
There are more interesting and funny words in the Second Book. For example, a phobia i s a pathological fear of something. Agoraphobia is the fear of open place. Aquaphobia is fear of water and so on. The prefix -phile describes a lover of a particular thing. A bibliophile is a lover of books. Prefix Ailuro refers to cats. Ailurophobia is a morbid fear of cats. And Peter Bowler, describes an ailurophile as "someone who is abnormally fond of cats. Such a one may readily be identified by the fleas and fine hairs hovering in the air like an aura about their person". Epistemophilia is an abonormal preoccupation with knowledge. "The curse of the lexicographer" adds Bowler! Don't be flabbergasted to see a monster of a word. "GYNOTIKOLOBOMASSOPHILE" is someone who likes to nibble on a woman's earlobe!.

Do you know what is an IGNIS FATUUS? It is a mythical hobgoblin spewing out fire from its mouth! No it is actually marsh gas that lights up during a lightning. The ghoul has another name "Will-o'-the-wisp". Interestingly the word ignis has its root in the Indo-European word Agni--Sanskrit for fire. We have a string of derivatives in ignite, ignited, ignition etc.
Peter Bowler describes Ignis Fatuus, as "the elusive lights generated by marsh gas at night and likely to lure incautious travelers from their path".
Talking of phobias, Mr Bowler has a queer phobia--no, no, a name for a queer phobia--LINONOPHOBIA, morbid fear of string. He adds his inimitable humour: "Not much of a problem these days, I would think. Now, if you had a morbid fear of bar codes, you'd be in big trouble".
A one-word adjective for a "funnel-shaped" thing! Say infundibular.
Look for more weird and exotic words--several words you can introduce in your conversations and writings with felicity--in Peter Bowler's THE SUPERIOR PERSON"S SECOND BOOK OF WEIRD AND WONDROUS WORDS" published by David.R.Godine, Publisher, Boston. And learn more about Peter Bowler in article Lexicographer in Wikipedia.
Published: May 29, 2007   
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