The Deeper Meaning of Liff: A Dictionary of Things There Aren't Any Words for Yet--But There Ought to Be

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A rollicking, thought-provoking dictionary for the modern age, featuring definitions for those things we don't have words for, from the New York Times bestselling author behind The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, and TV producer John Lloyd.

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 realized that just as there are an awful lot of experiences that no one has a name for, so there are an awful lot of names for places you will never need to go to. What a waste. As responsible citizens of a small and crowded world, we must all learn the virtues of recycling(7) and put old, worn-out but still serviceable names to exciting, vibrant, new uses. This is the book that does that for you: The Deeper Meaning of Liff—a whole new solution to the problem of Great Wakering(8)

1—The feeling of aluminum foil against your fillings.

2—The way people stand when examining other people’s bookshelves.

3—A plastic packet containing shampoo, mustard, etc., which is impossible to open except by biting off
the corners.

4—Generic term for anything that comes out in a gush, despite all your efforts to let it out carefully, e.g., flour into a white sauce, ketchup onto fish, a dog into the yard, and another naughty meaning that we can’t put on the cover.

5—The marks left on your bottom and thighs after you’ve been sitting sunbathing in a wicker chair.

6—God knows what this means

7—For instance, some of this book was first published in Britain twenty-six years ago.

8—Look it up yourself.
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About the author

Douglas Adams was the bestselling author of many works including The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which was turned into a major motion picture. He died in 2001.

John Lloyd is (he says) Britain’s most successful television comedy producer since Chaucer and is responsible for Not the Nine O’Clock News, Spitting Image, and Blackadder, among others.
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Reviews

3.9
20 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Crown Archetype
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Published on
Apr 26, 2005
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Pages
192
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ISBN
9780307238740
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Language
English
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Genres
Humor / Form / Puns & Wordplay
Humor / Topic / Language
Reference / Dictionaries
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Bill Bryson
One of the English language’s most skilled and beloved writers guides us all toward precise, mistake-free usage.

As usual Bill Bryson says it best: “English is a dazzlingly idiosyncratic tongue, full of quirks and irregularities that often seem willfully at odds with logic and common sense. This is a language where ‘cleave’ can mean to cut in half or to hold two halves together; where the simple word ‘set’ has 126 different meanings as a verb, 58 as a noun, and 10 as a participial adjective; where if you can run fast you are moving swiftly, but if you are stuck fast you are not moving at all; [and] where ‘colonel,’ ‘freight,’ ‘once,’ and ‘ache’ are strikingly at odds with their spellings.” As a copy editor for the London Times in the early 1980s, Bill Bryson felt keenly the lack of an easy-to-consult, authoritative guide to avoiding the traps and snares in English, and so he brashly suggested to a publisher that he should write one. Surprisingly, the proposition was accepted, and for “a sum of money carefully gauged not to cause embarrassment or feelings of overworth,” he proceeded to write that book–his first, inaugurating his stellar career.

Now, a decade and a half later, revised, updated, and thoroughly (but not overly) Americanized, it has become Bryson’s Dictionary of Troublesome Words, more than ever an essential guide to the wonderfully disordered thing that is the English language. With some one thousand entries, from “a, an” to “zoom,” that feature real-world examples of questionable usage from an international array of publications, and with a helpful glossary and guide to pronunciation, this precise, prescriptive, and–because it is written by Bill Bryson–often witty book belongs on the desk of every person who cares enough about the language not to maul or misuse or distort it.


From the Hardcover edition.
Douglas Adams
“Lively, sharply satirical, brilliantly written . . . shows how human care can undo what human carelessness has wrought.”—The Atlantic
 
New York Times bestselling author Douglas Adams and zoologist Mark Carwardine take off around the world in search of exotic, endangered creatures. Join them as they encounter the animal kingdom in its stunning beauty, astonishing variety, and imminent peril: the giant Komodo dragon of Indonesia, the helpless but loveable Kakapo of New Zealand, the blind river dolphins of China, the white rhinos of Zaire, the rare birds of Mauritius island in the Indian Ocean. Hilarious and poignant—as only Douglas Adams can be—Last Chance to See is an entertaining and arresting odyssey through the Earth’s magnificent wildlife galaxy.
 
Praise for Last Chance to See
 
“These authors don’t hesitate to present the alarming facts: More than 1,000 species of animals (and plants) become extinct every year. . . . Perhaps Adams and Carwardine, with their witty science, will help prevent such misadventures in the future.”—Boston Sunday Herald
 
“Very funny and moving . . . The glimpses of rare fauna seem to have enlarged [Adams’s] thinking, enlivened his world; and so might the animals do for us all, if we were to help them live.”—The Washington Post Book World
 
“[Adams] invites us to enter into a conspiracy of laughter and caring.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Amusing . . . Thought-provoking . . . Its details on the heroic efforts being made to save these animals are inspirational.”—The New York Times Book Review

NOTE: This edition does not include photos.
Douglas Adams
In one complete volume, here are the five classic novels from Douglas Adams’s beloved Hitchhiker series.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Seconds before the Earth is demolished for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is saved by Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised Guide. Together they stick out their thumbs to the stars and begin a wild journey through time and space.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
The moment before annihilation at the hands of warmongers is a curious time to crave tea. It could only happen to the cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his comrades as they hurtle across the galaxy in a desperate search for a place to eat.

Life, the Universe and Everything
The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of looking at the night sky– so they plan to destroy it. The universe, that is. Now only five individuals can avert Armageddon: mild-mannered Arthur Dent and his stalwart crew.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Back on Earth, Arthur Dent is ready to believe that the past eight years were all just a figment of his stressed-out imagination. But a gift-wrapped fishbowl with a cryptic inscription thrusts him back to reality. So to speak.

Mostly Harmless
Just when Arthur Dent makes the terrible mistake of starting to enjoy life, all hell breaks loose. Can he save the Earth from total obliteration? Can he save the Guide from a hostile alien takeover? Can he save his daughter from herself?

Includes the bonus story “Young Zaphod Plays It Safe”

“With droll wit, a keen eye for detail and heavy doses of insight . . . Adams makes us laugh until we cry.”—San Diego Union-Tribune

“Lively, sharply satirical, brilliantly written . . . ranks with the best set pieces in Mark Twain.”—The Atlantic
Book 1
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