The Oxford English Dictionary has become the word lover's Mount Everest ever since its initial publication eighty years ago. Weighing in a 62 kilograms, it is the dictionary to end all dictionaries.
Ammon Shea has been reading dictionaries since he was ten years old. Recently, Ammon set aside an entire year to read the OED with the aim at "compiling the most obscure, hilarious, oddly useful, and exquisitely useless gems" he discovered along the way. One man, one year, 21,730 pages!
You can read his story and all of his favorite words in his highly entertaining book Reading the OED.
I bought this book a few weeks ago but my wife stole it and she has been devouring it ever since, making good use of it for her frequent Facebook conversations ... It's now back in my hands, where it belongs :)
Here are a few sample words to whet your appetite:
- somnificator = one who induces sleep in others
- constult = to act stupidly together
- gobemouche = one who believes anything, no mater how absurd
- jehu = a fast and reckless driver
- umbriphilous = fond of the shade
- zanthodontous = having teeth that are yellow, as do rodents
- obaginate = to annoy by repeating over and over and over and over ...
Warning: reading this book could turn you into a cachinnator or a vocabularian!