The Disheveled Dictionary: A Curious Caper Through Our Sumptuous Lexicon
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The Disheveled Dictionary: A Curious Caper Through Our Sumptuous Lexicon

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  110 ratings  ·  15 reviews
With her signature cache of illustrations and flamboyantly gothic examples, Karen Elizabeth Gordon, "who has achieved cult status with her whimsical references, defines an array of daffy, delicious words" (Library Journal). In The Disheveled Dictionary Gordon conjures a world of words, their definitions and myriad uses, and along the way invokes favorite characters from ea...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 19th 2003 by Mariner Books (first published 1997)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.75* of five (rounded up for star purposes)

The Book Report: The book description says:
"What on earth does lagniappe mean? A sluggard who lies around till noon? A she-wolf of Anapurna? A car that demands heavy pampering?" In fact, none of the above. But one can find this Creole French word delectably defined in THE DISHEVELED DICTIONARY, which does for vocabulary what Gordon's cult classic THE WELL-TEMPERED SENTENCE did for punctuation and THE TRANSITIVE VAMPIRE did for grammar.

THE DISH...more
"What distinguishes poetry from automatic speech is that it rouses and shakes us into wakefulness in the middle of a word. Then it turns out that the word is much longer than we thought, and we remember that to speak means to be forever on the road."

"...the mastodons with their rough and polished manners"

"What a face to come home to! Twinkling, mocking, and contrite."

A young poet once said to Mallarme, "I had the most marvellous idea for a poem this afternoon." "Oh dear," said Mallarme, "what a...more
Jan 22, 2014 Elizabeth marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: career, language
I need to study up for my position as an editor.
One of my favorite books will always be the dictionary, so I was delighted to learn of this one in particular. Ever since I was in high school and my English IV teacher accused my friend and me of enjoying "thesaurus orgies" whenever we had to write anything, I've always been on the hunt for more verbal pepper to spice up my vocabulary.
An intruiging romp through definitions of some of the more colorful words in the English language, followed by even more colorful usage sentences. Definitely a word-lover's book, particularly because Gordon uses her chosen words more idiomatically than not. A fun escape from the drab and dreary commonality of language.
A quick and entertaining read in Gordon's signature tongue-in-cheek gothic style. It's a book to borrow it if a friend has it laying around, but not one you'll need to add to your permanent collection.
Gordon's dictionary is a collection of intriguing and unusual words with extravagantly rich, precise definitions, and "flamboyantly gothic" examples.
Frances Sawaya
Again, a winner from a favorite author of mine. And, again, a book I have used as a reference many times over.
Hilarious, quirky and FUN. Great to pick up for a mood-boosting couple of pages break from the day.
Sam Johnsson
An amusing romp through the bizarre and dark corners of the rare sections of the English lexicon.
I love these books, they make grammar and words fun. Just the way they should be.
Martin Wiegand
Good book interesting and informative just the way I like them!
Screamingly funny. I adore this, and Ms. Gordon's work generally.
Karen Floyd
This is a hoot. And I learned new words, too!
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Karen Elizabeth Gordon, who is most well-known for her comic language handbooks The New Well-Tempered Sentence and The Deluxe Transitive Vampire, is also author to a collection of short stories published by Dalkey Archive Press. The Red Shoes and Other Tattered Tales was hailed by many critics as Rabelaisian in its humor.

Gordon resides alternately in Berkeley, California and Paris.

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More about Karen Elizabeth Gordon...
The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed Paris Out of Hand: A Wayward Guide The New Well Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed Torn Wings and Faux Pas: A Flashbook of Style, a Beastly Guide Through the Writer's Labyrinth Out of the Loud Hound of Darkness: A Dictionarrative

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