If you’re a wordsmith or a wordsmith wannabe, here’s a book for you. Bust my buttons! It’s the cat’s meow, an indubitable lollapalooza — and that’s no codswallop (nor is it flapdoodle, claptrap, tomfoolery, shenanigans, malarkey, or even blarney). You need to find yourself a copy by hook or by crook, or you may find yourself feeling a bit woebegone. (I can try to not pepper this post with words and expressions from the book, but it wouldn’t be as fun, now would it?).
Chronicle Books released this little gem of a book this month, developed and compiled by Molly Glover with additional text by Kate Hodson. It’s called L is for Lollygag: Clever Words for a Clever Tongue (geared officially at ages ten and up), and — as someone who has always loved a good, juicy word — I am all atwitter about this title. This is for you word-nerds, like me, who feel a bit of ennui with your typical dictionary or even your typical alphabet book — you must go and take a look-see. This is a world in which “A” is for alakazam, “B” is for boondoggle, and “C” is for catawampus. (Amusingly enough, “X” is for nothing, since — as the book points out — “X can be a lot of fun: X marks the spot, X-ray vision, planet X, generation X, X-Men, signed with Xs and Os . . . and you can’t play Tic-Tac-Toe without good old X. But most of the tongue-tickling X words don’t actually begin with X.” Lisa Graff would be happy. And, though I’m seriously digressing here, I have to add that my favorite adaptation to that pesky letter is when They Might Be Giants make up a country called “West Xylophone” in their “Alphabet of Nations,” one of their children’s songs, which I’ll add to the bottom of this post — appropos to very little, but just for fun.)
So, yes, they’re all here, words that are deliciously fun, tripping off one’s tongue: hoi polloi, flibbertigibbet, fussbudget, loosey-goosey, mizzenmast, jittery-skittery, kit and caboodle, snollygoster, and spindle-shanked (I’ve always wanted to be spindle-shanked myself). The definitions are concise and full of swagger, brief and often amusing. Read the rest of this entry �