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The Describer's Dictionary


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About the Author

David Grambs has worked as a lexicographer, editor, travel reporter, and translator. He is the author of five other books pertaining to the English language, including The Endangered English Dictionary, and is coauthor of So You Think You Can Spell? with Ellen S. Levine.


Having previously assisted wordsmiths with his Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers ( LJ 11/1/90), Grambs now focuses his attention on precision of description. His new work boasts more than 5000 entries not found in most thesauruses or dictionaries, the majority of them visually descriptive of the physical world and highly adjectival in form. Using reverse dictionary format, Grambs provides access by definitional phrases within the broad categories of ``things,'' ``earth and sky,'' ``animals,'' and ``people.'' Subdivisions (e.g., ``heads,'' ``eyes,'' ``jaws,'' etc.) simplify the reader's search for the perfect word, but one can still spend ample time thumbing through such delights as the approximately 100 entries under ``patterns and edges.'' Some suggested adjectives are questionable, such as vaccine for cow-like. Most verso pages contain examples of descriptive passages by well-known writers that are almost more helpful than the definitions themselves. Recommended for general collections.-- Cathy Sabol, Northern Virginia Community Coll., Manassas

"Offer[s] hours of fun and useful words.... Valuable to writers, readers, and those stuck for a word or phrase to spice up a letter or diary entry." -- Digby Diehl

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