101 Weird Words (and 3 fakes) from Ambidextrous to Zugzwang


David Astle (text), and Paul Tippett (illustrator), 101 Weird Words (and 3 fakes) from Ambidextrous to Zugzwang, Allen and Unwin, November 2018, 144 pp., RRP $9.99 (pbk), ISBN 978176063366

Maybe you’ve heard of the humblebrag, the sly show off, or the narcissist who falls in love with his own reflection or maybe, if you are a circus performer, you may even have done the Risley, named after the American acrobat who developed the stunt in 1840. But what is certain is these words and many weirder ones exist in the English language. In his latest dictionary of weird words, well known word nerd and lover of language, David Astle, takes the reader on a weird word adventure. And, as amateur word sleuth, you must decipher fact from fiction to discover which are the three fakes amongst the array of strange words. Astle does provide answers at the end of the book but he makes you work for it. Good luck!

Each word is given a page in which Astle explores its meaning using humour, historical references and scenarios which provide a context to aid the reader’s understanding. Riddles, word games and jokes are also included at the bottom of each page while Paul Tippett’s illustrations add to the fun and humorous nature of the book.

Highly recommended for any word nerd or language lover from 8 up.

Reviewed by Mem Capp

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