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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 00:25 GMT
Dictionary of weird words published
Zebra
Cross a zebra with a donkey for a really weird word
If someone told you they were a pilgaric gricer would you run the other way or compliment them on their wig?

Look up the phrase in a colourful new dictionary and you would find you were talking to a bald trainspotter.

The guide - from the makers of the Oxford English Dictionary - has more than 400 definitions of bizarre or little-known words.

Editor Erin McKean has trawled the internet, obscure journals and dictionaries to find her favourite linguistic curiosities.


You can find weird words everywhere if you keep your eyes open

Erin McKean, editor
Have you ever struggled to politely describe a tall and awkward woman?

According to Weird and Wonderful Words she is a gammerstang - a description first used in Shakespeare's time.

Meanwhile, a pollinctor is someone who prepares bodies for cremation and embalming.

An angletwitch is a worm used as bait in fishing and onolatry is the worship of donkeys.

Male zebra

A zedonk is the offspring of a male zebra and a female donkey, while the art of bee-keeping is also known as meliturgy.

Ms McKean said: "You can find weird words everywhere if you keep your eyes open.

"Lexicographers usually have to rely only on evidence of use as to what words to include or leave out of dictionaries.

"For this book I could make decisions purely on whether I liked a word or not."

Weird and Wonderful Words is published by Oxford University Press.


Click here to go to Oxford
See also:

24 Aug 02 | Scotland
17 Jan 02 | UK
12 Jun 01 | Entertainment
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