The unmatched guide—and perfect gift—for stymied scribes and working wordsmiths everywhere, now expanded and updated. A singular and indispensable reference tool, The Describer's Dictionary—now expanded and updated—has served for over twenty years as the go-to resource for writers who are determined to capture the world in just the right words. The dictionary uses a unique reverse definition-to-term format that makes it easy to zero in on the term you're seeking. Turn to the new section on sensory impressions, for example, to find vivid terms for "loud or jarring," such as "grating," "harsh," "piercing," "blaring," "thunderous," "cacophonous," and "raucous." And at the end of each section dozens of illustrative passages by notable fiction and nonfiction authors—including Donna Tartt, Michael Lewis, Zadie Smith, Khaled Hosseini, and Paul Theroux—bring the terminology to life. New in this edition: • Hundreds of additional definitions, terms, and synonyms • Brand-new categories, including "Physical States and Symptoms," "Temperament and Behavior," "Rooms and Interior Spaces," "Weather and Forces of Nature," and "The Solar System" • Over 400 new quotations from books, periodicals, and digital media by established and rising literary stars • An index of the more than 600 authors quoted in the book
More than ever in this completely updated edition, The Elements of Expression helps word users "light up the cosmos or the written page or the face across the table" as they seek the radiance of expressiveness—the vivid expression of thoughts, feelings, and observations. Nothing kills radiance like the murky, generic language dominating today's talk, airwaves, and posts. It tugs at our every sentence, but using it to express anything beyond the ordinary is like flapping the tongue to escape gravity. The Elements of Expression offers an adventurous and inspiring flight into words that truly share what's percolating in our minds. Here writers, presenters, students, bloggers—even well intentioned "Mad Men"—will discover language to convey precise feelings, move audiences, delight and persuade. No snob or scold, the acclaimed word-maven Arthur Plotnik explores the full range of expressiveness, from playful "tough talk" to finely wrought literature, with hundreds of rousing examples. Confessing that we are all "like a squid in its ink" when first groping for luminous expression, he shines his amiable wit on the elements leading, ultimately, to language of "fissionable intensity."
"Like animals, plants and book reviewers, words can become extinct, but Grambs is here to salvage the most missed of the lexical dinosaurs."—Patricia Holt, San Francisco Chronicle We often hear about the richness of the English language, how many more words it contains than French or German. And yet modern desk dictionaries are the result of a paring away of that glory, so that merely standard, functional, current words remain. The price we pay for such convenience is the thousands of delightful words we never see or hear. This book is an effort to save some of those words applicable to everyday life and countless word games from extinction. The resultant treasure trove of exotic verbal creatures is an indispensable resource for every lover of language. A selection: egrutten: having a face swollen from weeping numquid: an inquisitive person sardoodledum: drama that is contrived, stagy, or unrealistic mimp: to purse one's lips
Who was Richard Kemp, after whom the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is named? Is Wake’s Gecko named after Berkeley’s Marvalee Wake? Or perhaps her husband, David? Why do so many snakes and lizards have Werner in their name? This reference book answers these and thousands of other questions about the origins of the vernacular and scientific names of reptiles across the globe. From Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti, the Florida cottonmouth subspecies named for Roger Conant, to Xantusia, the night lizard genera namesake of John Xantus, this dictionary covers everyone after whom an extant or recently extinct reptile has been named. The entries include a brief bio-sketch, a list of the reptiles that bear the individual’s name, the names of reptiles erroneously thought to be associated with the person, and a summary of major—and sometimes obscure or even incidental—contributions made by the person to herpetology and zoology. An introductory chapter explains how to use the book and describes the process of naming taxa. Easy to use and filled with addictive—and highly useful—information about the people whose names will be carried into the future on the backs of the world’s reptiles, The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles is a handy and fun book for professional and amateur herpetologists alike.
New species of animal and plant are being discovered all the time. When this happens, the new species has to be given a scientific, Latin name in addition to any common, vernacular name. In either case the species may be named after a person, often the discoverer but sometimes an individual they wished to honour or perhaps were staying with at the time the discovery was made. Species names related to a person are ‘eponyms’. Many scientific names are allusive, esoteric and even humorous, so an eponym dictionary is a valuable resource for anyone, amateur or professional, who wants to decipher the meaning and glimpse the history of a species name. Sometimes a name refers not to a person but to a fictional character or mythological figure. The Forest Stubfoot Toad Atelopus farci is named after the FARC, a Colombian guerrilla army who found refuge in the toad’s habitat and thereby, it is claimed, protected it. Hoipollo's Bubble-nest Frog Pseudophilautus hoipolloi was named after the Greek for ‘the many’, but someone assumed the reference was to a Dr Hoipollo. Meanwhile, the man who has everything will never refuse an eponym: Sting's Treefrog Dendropsophus stingi is named after the rock musician, in honour of his ‘commitment and efforts to save the rainforest’. Following the success of their Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles, the authors have joined forces to give amphibians a similar treatment. They have tracked down 1,609 honoured individuals and composed for each a brief, pithy biography. In some cases these are a reminder of the courage of scientists whose dedicated research in remote locations exposed them to disease and even violent death. The eponym ensures that their memory will survive, aided by reference works such as this highly readable dictionary. Altogether 2,668 amphibians are listed.
Dictionary of Australian and New Guinean Mammals is the first unified guide to the mammals of both Australia and New Guinea. Based on Ronald Strahan’s first dictionary of Australian mammals, published in 1981, it includes all species, both native and introduced. For each species and genus, it provides a clear guide to pronunciation, the derivation and significance of the component parts of the name, and the citation that identifies its earliest valid description. This unique work includes biographical notes on fifty-one zoologists who, over the past three centuries, have named Australian and New Guinean mammals. The book also includes an account of the principles and practices of zoological nomenclature, together with a comprehensive bibliography and an index of common names. Dictionary of Australian and New Guinean Mammals is an invaluable reference for mammal researchers and students, as well as anyone interested in natural history.
In which the Words are Deduced from Their Originals, and Illustrated in Their Different Significations by Examples from the Best Writers. To which are Prefixed a History of the Language, and an English Grammar