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Shea.jpgI had a riot reading Ammon Shea’s Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages
. There are two parts to this book — there is the personal story of the experience of reading 8-10 hours a day, holed up in a library in NYC, consuming large quantities of espresso — he says a thermos full by noon on most days — and getting headaches from all that reading.

Then there is his deposit of words from each letter in the alphabet — so 26 chps of funny words — and his funny comments.

Both his own story and the words he finds were equally informative and entertaining. I’ll keep this book near my desk just for the fun of it. 21,730 pages, 59 million words, 137.72 pounds of paper, 2.5 million quotations, and 20 volumes — big ones, too. He did it all, and his effort is worth our reading.

Whoever comes up with the funniest sentence with two or more of the following words will win a prize.



Some of my favorite words:

Avidulous: somewhat greedy.
Balter: to dance clumsily.
Bayard: a person armed with the self-confidence of ignorance.
Fard: to paint the face with cosmetics, so as to hide blemishes. (As in “she went out to fard.”)
Gound: the gunk that collects in the corners of the eyes.
Homodoxian: a person who has the same opinion as you. (A denominational trait.)
Kakistocracy: government by the worst citizens.
Minimifidian: a person who has the bare minimum of faith (which Calvinists begrudge of Anabaptists and Arminians).
Nod-crafty: given to nodding the head with an air of great wisdom. (Surely someone will bring in the word emergent here.)
Paracme: the point at which one’s prime is past.
Peccability: capacity for sinning.
Philodox: a person in love with his own opinion.
Redeless: not knowing what to do in an emergency, and I thought of Barney Fife.
Superfidel: overly credulous; believing too much (which Anabaptists and Arminians think of Calvinists).

Sympatetic: a companion one walks with, Calvinist or Anabaptist or Arminian.

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