Monday, April 28

The Meaning of Liff - Douglas Adams' Dictionary

You know how there's always something you can't quite describe because there's no word for it?  It's agonising!  But trust Douglas Adams to come to the rescue with his "Original Dictionary Of Things There Should Be Words For."  

The "New and Unimproved" edition of The Meaning of Liff was published last year on the book's 30th anniversary.  I was surprised and delighted to receive it as a gift.  This book is best described as a genius, hilarious gift to the world - you can stop fluffing about for words that don't exist and experience the great relief of knowing that someone else knows exactly what you're talking about.

If you need any more convincing, here are a few highlights:

Abilene adj.  Descriptive of the pleasing coolness on the reverse side of the pillow
Beppu n.  The triumphant slamming shut of a book after reading the final page
Dewlish adj.  (Of the hands and feet.)  Prunelike after an overlong bath
Essendine n.  Long sigh emitted by a fake leather armchair she sat on
Frolesworth n.  Measure.  The minimum time it is necessary to spend frowning in deep concentration at each picture in an art gallery in order that everyone else doesn't think you're a complete moron
Kettering n.  The marks left on your bottom or thighs after sunbathing on a wickerwork chair
Malibu n.  The height by which the top of a wave exceeds the height to which you have rolled up your trousers
Perranzabuloe n.  The squirty function in an electric iron
Scosthrop vb.  To make opening or cutting movements with the hands when wandering about looking for a tin opener, scissors, etc., in the hope that this will help in some way
Shoeburyness n.  The vague uncomfortable feeling you get when sitting on a seat which is still warm from someone else's bottom
Thrupp vb.  To hold a ruler on one end of a desk and make the other end go bbddbbddbbrrbrrrdrr
Wigan  n.  If, when talking to someone you know has only one leg, you're trying to treat them perfectly casually and normally, but find to your horror that your conversation is liberally studded with references to (a) Long John Silver, (b) Hopalong Cassidy, (c) the Hokey Cokey, (d) 'putting your foot in it', (e) 'the last leg of the UEFA competition', you are said to have committed a wigan

Adams, Douglas and Lloyd, John.  2013.  The Meaning of Liff.  30th Anniversary ed.  UK: Faber and Faber.  

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did and rush to procure your own copy.  This is a sensational mashup of quirksome ideas.  

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