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The Disheveled Dictionary: A Curious Caper Through Our Sumptuous Lexicon

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  154 Ratings  ·  17 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 Derus
Aug 11, 2012 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Aug 20, 2014 Valissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
A delightful little volume filled with flowery words to spruce up anyone's written and oral vocabulary. I could not escape the feeling that the author wrote this as somewhat of an inside joke with a friend I don't know. And there is an inescapable obsession with frangipane.
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.
Mar 11, 2012 April rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 21, 2010 Lindsey rated it liked it
Shelves: education
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.
Jun 10, 2010 Lea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 06, 2010 Terry rated it really liked it
Gordon's dictionary is a collection of intriguing and unusual words with extravagantly rich, precise definitions, and "flamboyantly gothic" examples.
Frances Sawaya
May 03, 2016 Frances Sawaya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-our-library
Again, a winner from a favorite author of mine. And, again, a book I have used as a reference many times over.
Oct 15, 2012 Larisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 24, 2012 Martin Wiegand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book interesting and informative just the way I like them!
Feb 13, 2009 SmarterLilac rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Screamingly funny. I adore this, and Ms. Gordon's work generally.
Apr 19, 2016 Pepper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
Another great way to waste an afternoon.
Karen Floyd
Sep 11, 2012 Karen Floyd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
This is a hoot. And I learned new words, too!
Light, but fun.
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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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