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The Deeper Meaning of Liff (The Meaning of Liff #2)

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  3,823 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
Does the sensation of Tingrith(1) make you yelp? Do you bend sympathetically when you see someone Ahenny(2)? Can you deal with a Naugatuck(3) without causing a Toronto(4)? Will you suffer from Kettering(5) this summer?

Probably. You are almost certainly familiar with all these experiences but just didn’t know that there are words for them. Well, in fact, there aren’t—or ra
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 19th 2005 by Three Rivers Press (first published 1990)
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Jan 13, 2015 MLE rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
I will admit it, if anyone else had written an entire book of definitions that they then attached to the strange names of towns, and cities, there is no way I would have read it, but this, this is written by Douglas Adams, possibly my favorite writer ever. The definitions he invents are so perfect it made me wonder why we don't actually have a word for most of them. It was a fun book to read, and it made me sad to know that he was no longer with us.

Nov 06, 2015 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A birthday present from my sister, The Meaning of Liff is a dictionary of words you didn't know about. Each word is actually a place name (mostly in the UK) and a humorous explanation is provided for each.

Some of them I had already known for some time – my favourite is still Wimbledon – which as we all know describes "That last drop which, no matter how much you shake it, always goes down your trouser leg."
Thomas Strömquist
I have yet to study The Meaning of Liff; in fact, I've owned this one for ages, but never even seen part one. Maybe not indispensable. This one isn't either, but some definitions just shine with Douglas Adams' wit and therefore it's nice to dip into once and again.

And it is really satisfying to look up that word for something that's simply missing from one's vocabulary and more traditional dictionary's both. I mean, who's not familiar with Lambarene (Feeling better for having put a pyjamas on)
Apr 22, 2013 Lucy rated it it was amazing
This year, the wonderful Meaning of Liff and I share a milestone birthday. Imagine my excitement at the prospect of a sequel to this masterpiece 30 years after the first edition. So it seemed like a good time to read the version on my bookshelf again in anticipation.

Written by the unstoppable duo Douglas Adams (if you haven’t read the Hitchhiker’s Guide trilogy of five, you are missing out on some magic) and John Lloyd (QI creator), The Deeper Meaning of Liff is a hilarious dictionary-style book
Stephanie Griffin
I’m surprised that I didn’t love Douglas Adams’ THE DEEPER MEANING OF LIFF: A Dictionary of Things That There Aren’t Any Words For Yet. I certainly adored his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.

Ely (n.) The first, tiniest inkling that something, somewhere, has gone terribly wrong.

It seems that this book was really aimed at adolescent boys who find bodily functions amusing. There were many definitions that I laughed at but it was disheartening to find that there were outdated references and
Dec 20, 2011 Sara rated it it was amazing
I didn't think that a mock dictionary would be something you could sit down and read through in one sitting... but - at least with this one - you can. Douglas Adams is brilliant, and at least 1/3 of the words in this book I felt I should scribble down and use immediately.
I really want to keep this book, but I know deep in my heart that if this vocabulary hasn't caught on in the past 30 years, nothing I can do will make it. So I have to pass it on for the next person to enjoy. It is quite the aba
Nov 23, 2011 Bee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite
So much a part of my daily vocabulary that I often get very very odd looks and don't know why. A must have.
I've been reading and loving Douglas Adams's works since I was in middle school; while it's possible to translate this as my sense of humor not evolving much in 15 years, I'd rather embrace the notion that I was saddled with a funny bone (among other things) that would have served me much better had I been born on the other side of the Atlantic. Either way, the real point is that diving into anything penned by one of my all-time favorite writers always feels a little bit like coming home or slip ...more
Peter Clegg
Dec 27, 2016 Peter Clegg rated it really liked it
A very interesting way of describing things that one would not normally describe.
Valentin Mihov
Jan 24, 2015 Valentin Mihov rated it really liked it
Shelves: just-have-it
Does the sensation of Tingrith(1) make you yelp? Do you bend sympathetically when you see someone Ahenny(2)? Can you deal with a Naugatuck(3) without causing a Toronto(4)? Will you suffer from Kettering(5) this summer? Probably. You are almost certainly familiar with all these experiences but just didn’t know that there are words for them. Well, in fact, there aren’t—or rather there weren’t, until Douglas Adams and John Lloyd decided to plug these egregious linguistic lacunae(6). They quickly re ...more
Julie Decker
Jul 21, 2014 Julie Decker rated it it was amazing
Douglas Adams takes place names that he believes aren't being used anyway since no one ever goes to these places, and he repurposes them all, assigning them to experiences, sensations, items, and people we all wish there were names for.

Most of the definitions were merely absurd, but some of them were so perfectly on point in describing something that's happened to everyone that I really wanted to memorize the word and start using it in everyday vocabulary. Most definitions were quite brief, but
Mar 12, 2012 Jay rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
This isn't really the best book to read from cover-to-cover. It's more of a book to skim through in the odd moments: waiting for a bus, sitting in the waiting area of an emergency room, when the rocketship countdown starts and you've no buttons to press in your little display panel until it begins again, or, perhaps, for the dull bits during a skydiving trip.

What I find more interesting than the individual words -- creative and amusing as they are -- is the fact that all the new words are the n
Jun 06, 2007 Swankivy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favoritebooks
This book is full of rather witty reassignments for place names that aren't being used for much anyway. How often have all of us wished there was a good word to describe a thing, a phenomenon, or a feeling? Isn't the world a better place now that we have Douglas Adams's answer to this puzzling problem? Isn't it nice to know that a grimsby is a lump of gristle that is either in your food through careless cooking or sometimes placed there deliberately by Freemasons? Or that a sidcup is one of thos ...more
Jul 13, 2007 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loved other Douglas Adams books or who has a sense of humour.
Shelves: comedy
We all know them... The things in life that we all experience, but which don't necessarily have a name.

This is a dictionary of those things.

Ely: The feeling that something, somewhere has just gone horribly wrong.

As an added twist, each of the words defined in the meaning of Liff is actually a placename somewhere in the world. Many of them are actually various odd village names from the UK (there are plenty, I live about five miles from 'Six Mile Bottom'!), but there are plenty from further afiel
Ian Wood
Jul 24, 2008 Ian Wood rated it did not like it
Shelves: douglas-adams
In ‘The Meaning of Liff’ Douglas Adams and John Lloyd have expanded the English language by noting down the meaningless names that lie underused on signpost and attribute new purpose to them covering the common experiences we have yet to assign a word to.

The Disappointment one feels when our favourite author puts out a book not worthy of their name.

The nagging sensation the reader feels that he has been swindled out of five pounds that would have been better served giving
I loved Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, so of course I wanted to read this one as well, which he co-authored with John Lloyd. It was (as expected) very funny and surprisingly relatable (well some experiences/definitions were, others not so much). Some of my favorite include:
“Beppu (n.):
The triumphant slamming shut of a book after reading the final page.”

“Dinder (vb.):
To nod thoughtfully while someone gives you a long and complex set of directions which you know you're
Sep 09, 2009 Durdles rated it really liked it
Shelves: humour
A very clever idea to use place names to describe things for which no word exists. Not an original idea but the results are amusing and sometimes inspired e.g. taken at random:
Eads: The sludgy bits at the bottom of the dustbin, underneath the actual bin liner.
Patney: Something your next door neighbour makes and insists that you try on your sausages.
My favourite one isn't in the book though. Risca: Something white and gooey found at the back of the fridge that might be o.k. for frying somethin
Dec 10, 2013 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I didn't realize this was just a new edition of the first book. I expected a whole new book of additional words. However, this was an improvement on the original. There were some new words and definitions but mostly it was just enhanced with some pictures and pronunciations. At first I thought this would bother me but I actually appreciated more the pseudo-etymology of the words than I did the first time. It also, for some reason, made it seem more British which! also for some reason! brings ...more
Tony Laplume
Aug 16, 2015 Tony Laplume rated it really liked it
The words themselves will be difficult to remember for most readers, so I most recommend this as a hearty study of manly thoughts, a kind of British Dave Barry. Since the late Douglas Adams and Barry have long been favorites of mine, this was a pleasant thing to discover from part of the Adams canon I've only just gotten to. Plus the fact that Adams and co-writer John Lloyd theorized that culturally we will have run out of new names by 2015? Which is this year? So that was a good bit of timing o ...more
Nov 15, 2011 Grant rated it it was amazing
This book is a wonderful piece of comedy. Some of the words will have you laughing very hard. Adams and Loyd take definitions that are without words, and using the names of places, finally gives them the words they deserve. Not only is this a fun read, but it does get the reader thinking about what in their world they cannot describe in one word, and ways to do just that. It has been said that a great writer can say a sentence in a page, or a page in a sentence, and with the words in this book, ...more
Apr 27, 2014 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a second book in the "Meaning of Liff.." series. It is basically a humorous dictionary of imaginary and twisted words which on closer examination strike a cord with our everyday world. You can like many of these types of books read the entries from A to Z in order - but its hard going - however it is more fun to simply flick through the book picking out entries and reading their descriptions. The only problem now is once read you are just dying to try some of them out (or is that just me ...more
Richard Thomas
Nov 26, 2014 Richard Thomas rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humour-and-wit
I suppose it's a looside book which I can't really read as I would a straightforward narrative. Instead it's a series of delights to be dipped into and skimmed. Both books are must and there is now a further in the same genre by John Lloyd - Afterliff. still funny and worth having but without Douglas Adams' edge of sharp wit. Living in Orkney, we have places that are more redolent of exotic names - Taversoe Tuick the famous victorian thespian - no actor he - and Hobbister Moor.
Mar 01, 2014 Ginger rated it really liked it
This is one of my top three in the books written by Douglas Adams. This author not only thinks tangentially, he writes tangentially. Where did that come from? And then later there may or may not be a tie in. Humorous escapism at its best. Most of the characters are English, but one cannot count on Adams to stick to a country, let alone a topic. Fun read! I'm not sure of the date of publication, but I read it that year.
Mar 28, 2007 Koz rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Cunning Linguists
Dalfibble (DAL-fib-ul) vb.
To spend large periods of your life looking for car keys.
Memus (MEE-mus) n.
The little trick people use to remind themselves which is left and which is right.
Smyrna (SMUR-nah) n.
The expression on the face of one whose joke has just gone down rather well.
Feb 09, 2008 Minnie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone in need of a laugh
A hilarious book that puts words to use that are just lying around, mostly names of towns ,some usual such as Vancouver. That is the technical name for those huge trucks with whirling brushes on the bottom used to clean streets. My favourite is Abilene which describes the pleasant coolness on the reverse side of the pillow
Jul 31, 2015 Shawn rated it liked it
The definitions in the book were funny. Definitely there should be words for some of these things. Using place names for them made for some amusement relating them to places I have been. Overall though, just the humor of Douglas Adams saved this from being boring or annoying (as in my wife's opinion when I showed her some definitions).
Bena Sanghera
Apr 03, 2013 Bena Sanghera rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this. Absolutely brilliant. The observations are funny, true to life and clever. It's a book that I happily drop into and pull out something that makes me smile.
A dictionary of false meanings doesn't mean that those situations and meanings don't exist. Just that there isn't a word for them.
Now you can find it here - or make your own.
Dec 17, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it
Very much the sort of Douglas Adam's humor we've all grown to know and love. It's a spoof dictionary of things for which words don't exist, together with various place names. The sort of book you take to bed to relax with, but then keep yourself awake by laughing too much. Not the sort of book to read from cover to cover, but more the sort of book you dip into when you need cheering up.
Dec 30, 2009 Blain rated it liked it
I picked this up because it's the only book by Douglas Adams that I hadn't read. As "a dictionary of things there aren't any words for yet" it is great. You will find yourself laughing at a shared human experience, for example a Deventer- a decision that's very hard to make because so little depends on it. But it can be hard to read more than few pages at a time.
Jul 25, 2011 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a good translation of Douglas Adams' original "the deeper meaning of Liff" into German, using mostly German cities. It's not a direct translation, but includes words that aren't featured in the original, which makes it good to read in addition to the original.
The book itself is built like a Longman's dictionary and includes both the German and the original English version of the book.
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Douglas Noël Adams was an English author, comic radio dramatist, and musician. He is best known as the author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Hitchhiker's began on radio, and developed into a "trilogy" of five books (which sold more than fifteen million copies during his lifetime) as well as a television series, a comic book series, a computer game, and a feature film that was comp ...more
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Other Books in the Series

The Meaning of Liff (3 books)
  • The Meaning of Liff
  • Afterliff: The New Dictionary of Things There Should Be Words For

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“Ahenny (adj.) - The way people stand when examining other people's bookshelves.” 209 likes
“Ballycumber (ba-li-KUM-ber) n.
One of the six half-read books lying somewhere in your bed.”
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