In Pursuit of Wanted Words
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Despite the many thousands of dictionary words at our
disposal, our language can be dismayingly inadequate. How
many times have you searched for a word that means just what
you want it to but failed to find anything suitable
anywhere? Most of us, it turns out, lead lives rife with
experiences, people, and things that have no names.
At least, they lacked names until now. Word
Fugitives comes to the rescue, supplying hundreds of
inspired words coined or redefined to meet everyday needs.
For instance, wouldn't it be handy to have a word for the
momentary confusion people experience when they hear a cell
phone ringing and wonder whether it's theirs? (How about
fauxcellarm, phonundrum, or pandephonium?)
Or what about a word for offspring who are adults? (Try
unchildren or offsprung.) Or a word for the
irrational fear when you're throwing a party that no one
will show up? (That might be guestlessness, empty-fest
syndrome, or fete-alism.)
This mind- and
vocabulary-expanding book grew out -- way out -- of Barbara
Wallraff's popular column in The Atlantic Monthly.
Brimming with irresistible diversions and pop quizzes;
illuminated by contributions and commentary from authors,
linguists, and leading language authorities; and enlivened
by pleas for help from people whose words have yet to be
found, Word Fugitives will captivate and inspire
anyone who ever struggles to describe the world that he or
she, or they, or thon (thon? see page 141) lives in.
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