The Lexicologist's Handbook by Dane Cobain - Book Review


I was excited when I found out Dane Cobain was going to send me a copy of another one of his new books after I throughly enjoyed reading a reviewing his Subject Verb Object anthology of short stories. This time, however, Cobain delved into his maiden voyage of non-fiction writing in the form of The Lexicologist's Handbook
The Lexicologist's Handbook is, as self-described, 'a dictionary of unsusal words'. Cobain wrote this over the coruse of 10 years where he would write down any curious and interesting words he thought of whilst going about his day to day business. These words have been collated into a book of pronunciaations, definitions and examples.
This book at first seems like a dictionary that you may only reference to as and when needed but the true entertainment in this book, to me, comes from the often comical examples Cobain chooses to further explain the words. Never before have I described a dictionary as a 'page-turner' but this truly did capture my attention for prolonged periods of time.
Through my experience of reading large exerts of this book I have discovered new meanings of words I was already familiar with as well as many words I had never  heard of before. Cobain challenges the reader to take a new word from these pages and incorporate it into their everyday conversations. I have highlighted some of my favourite new words below (along with some that made me laugh).


Pronunciation: Flap-do-dull

Definition: Nonsense

Example: Dave thought that the poliotician's big speech was a load of old flapdoodle. He didn't believe a word he said.



Pronunciation: Cram-pon

Definition: A plate of spikes that's fixed to a book to help the wearer to transverse difficult terrain like ice or rock.

Example: Sir Edmund Hillary asked santa for a new crampon for his next trip up the mountain.



Pronunciation: Un-birth-day

Definition: Any day except one's birthday; a neologism coined by C.S. Lewis.

Example: I didn't want to make Joseph a cup of tea, but I felt like I had no choice when he told me it was his unbirthday

 I won't spoil any more for you but there are some real gems in these pages which I'll leave for you to find. If you pick yourself up a copy of this book, come back and tell me in the comment (or on Twitter) what your favourite words were.

I've decided to take on the challenge to incorporating some words into my everyday speech. With the upcoming UK election, I expect flapdoodle to become much more prevelant.

I can highly reccommend this book to any fan of the English language, lexcologists, or anyone who can read. You can pick up a copy here.


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