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Hardcover The Highly Selective Dictionary for the Extraordinarily Literate Book

ISBN: 0062701908

ISBN13: 9780062701909

The Highly Selective Dictionary for the Extraordinarily Literate

Between TV talk shows, radio call-in programs, email and the Internet, spontaneous-talk media has skyrocketed in the '90s. People are interacting more frequently and more fervently than ever before,... This description may be from another edition of this product.


Format: Hardcover

Condition: Good

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Customer Reviews

7 ratings


This is not what I ordered. This is first time you got it wrong. The book I received was a paper back and not by the author I ordered. I'm disappointed.

Lots of useful words, clearly laid out

This is my favorite book from an order of 5, all reference/dictionary. Everything is laid out clearly. I went through a whole pack of sticker flags marking the most useful and interesting words, and words that I thought I understood but actually didn't (until reading this book). The introduction is orotund. When I imagine it being spoken, it's with frequent interruptions by the speaker huffing his own farts. But I respect his goal of preserving the value of words, and that he taught me the word "orotund."

A Unique and Useful Compilation for College Students

Sometimes it is wise not to judge a book by its title. I suggest that you ignore the elitist title and concentrate on its contents. The Highly Selective Dictionary for the Extraordinary Literate is a useful compilation, a helpful tool for college students. Eugene Ehrlich offers only those words that you are likely to reference in a dictionary. Simple words are not listed. For example, none of the words that I used in this review can be found in his selective dictionary. Likewise, those 500,000 words in the English language that are rarely used are not included in this book. Ehrlich's words inhabit a borderland separating those words we already know and those words that we will never need to know. Did he get it right? Well, it depends on the geographic position of your particular borderland. I offer you some empirical data. I am reading for the first time The Way of the World, an early eighteenth century play by William Congreve. I found only two troublesome words (billingsgate and nonpariel) in the editor's 12-page introduction. Ehrlich provided clear, concise definitions for both words. Previously I reviewed a rather scholarly work, The Odes of John Keats, by Helen Vendler, a respected literature professor at Harvard. I scanned a random chapter (Ode to a Nightingale, 32 pages) and found synecdoche, antiphonal, discarnate, mimetic, and solipsistic. Antiphonal and discarnate were not in Ehrlich's dictionary. I looked at random pages in Ehrlich's dictionary, tested myself, and concluded that for about one-fourth of the entries I would have trouble offering an acceptable definition, even with some help from contextual clues. I listed below three typical pages from Ehrlich's dictionary: We find on page 67 the words existentialism, exoteric (do not confuse with esoteric), expatiate, expiate, explicate, and expostulate, and on page 111 is mimesis (and mimetic), minatory, misanthrope, miscegenation, miscreant, misogamy, misogyny, misprision, and mitigate (sometimes confused with militate), and lastly on page 164 there is sophistry, soporific, sororicide, soubrette, soupcon, specious, splenetic, spoonerism, and squash (as contrasted with quash). I originally bought this dictionary to help my daughter prepare for the GRE. Having devoted some time to browsing this fascinating compilation, I now hope that she will not forget to return Ehrlich's dictionary to me.

Fills Its Purpose Beautifully

I believe that there are two kinds of people in this world. The first type are people that use language merely as a means to communicate. The second type are people that use language as an artform. If you are the first type of person; do not buy this book. It will have no use or meaning for you, and you certainly won't find it entertaining. Unless you just have a quirky need to read dictionaries, you won't dig this volume, AT ALL.If you are the second type of person - the type that enjoys learning new words just for the sake of knowing them; the type that likes being able to say the same thing 15 different ways...then this book is for you.I love to write. I love to read. I enjoy using words for fun and for creative expression. This book gave me words that I had never heard before and that is, indeed, becoming a rare treasure to find. I'm a huge word geek, and so this dictionary was a perfect fit for me.I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I actually read it from cover to cover like a novel (except that I went through with a highlighter as I read). Words can be used to fill a lot of different purposes, and they can be enjoyed in a much broader way than just coming to understand the definitions. Conveying information is only ONE of language's many functions.Though the words in this book are not likely to find a place in your daily conversational vocabulary set, they will most assuredly become a part of your poems, your stories, and that file-cabinet of knowledge we all keep way back in the recesses of our brains. I highly recommend this book to all of my fellow wordsmiths and nerd/geek/dorks the world over.

Finally a dictionary that defines

Tired of the pop-constructed meanings, and destructions of perfectly good words?Buy this book. Selectively, of course."The Highly Selective Dictionary for the Extraordinarily Literate" is not meant for the weak of word, but for we verbal victims, taunted and teased by the definition of the week.The Oprah Book Club crowd, with its PC looks at all things merging will not buy this. You will. You'll read it. Enjoy the way you enjoy Scrabble and the OED.I fully recommend "The Highly Selective Dictionary for the Extraordinarily Literate."Anthony Trendl

Refine Your Vocabulary

This dictionary is not as elitist or highbrow as the title implies. Although it does contain the occasional arcane or rare word (when was the last time you deracinated a gudgeon?), the vast majority of the words are actually in use. Its two great strengths are that, unlike similar collections, it gives a pronunciation guide and it very usefully instructs the reader in distinguishing between words that are commonly confused, e.g., founder and flounder. Therefore, whether you like to peruse the lexicon to be instructed, amused or amazed or want to improve your reading and writing skills for school or work, this book is a welcome addition to your collection.

A very interesting book.

This book is quite interesting. It's a most interesting dictionary, filled with words that you couldn't find in most dictionaries. I don't agree with many of their selections that are for the 'highly literate' (if you don't know 'regretful and regimen' you might want to start with the regular dictionary) but many of the words are good (defenestartion, quidnunc, etc.). This is the best way to insult people that I have ever found. I'm not sure I would buy this for myself, but it makes a good gift. I sure enjoyed getting it as a gift, but I'm sure you would enjoy it just buying it for yourself. Enjoy!
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