Everybody likes unusual words; that’s why books like They Have a Word for It sell so well (see my grumpy strictures here). I do too (as should be obvious by now), but I have the quirk of insisting that the words actually exist, which makes most such books an annoyance to me. (An exception: Erin McKean’s Weird and Wonderful Words and More Weird and Wonderful Words, whose entries are taken straight from the OED.) Now Grant Barrett, like Erin an actual lexicographer, has come out with The Official Dictionary of Unofficial English: A Crunk Omnibus for Thrillionaires and Bampots for the Ecozoic Age, and I’m delighted to report that not only are the entries impeccably sourced, they’re provided with full citations. If you want to see what it’s like, you have only to visit Grant’s blog Double-Tongued Word Wrester (which I discussed here), since the presentation is the same (and I presume many of the entries in the book are from the blog). Just flipping the pages will introduce you, as it has me, to all manner of hitherto unknown lexical items; on facing pages, for instance, are vogue ‘a tire,’ and (one of my favorites) vuzvuz ‘a derogatory name for an Ashkenazic Jew… This term is usually used within the religion, especially by Sephardic Jews.’ (How my friend Allan would have loved that!)
My only quibble would be that some entries have appeared in other dictionaries; tools of ignorance ‘catcher’s gear’ is in The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, for example, and dhimmi ‘a non-Muslim living with limited rights under Muslim rule’ is in the big Webster’s. With so many unrecorded words out there clamoring for recognition, it seems a shame to give preference to those already wearing the crown of legitimacy.