Dictionary of Difficult Words


Book Information

Reader Personality Type
Frances Lincoln Children's Books April 2019
Language Arts Curriculum

“The wild winds blow

Upon your frozen cheeks

The way you flip your hip

It always makes me weak

‘Cause you’re my babe

You’re my love

Girl, I’m just a jeepster for your love”

-- T. Rex, “Jeepster” (1971)


According to Wikipedia, the Jeepster “is an automobile originally produced by Willys-Overland Motors from 1948 to 1950. It was developed in hopes of filling a gap in the company’s product line, crossing over from their ‘utilitarian’ proto SUVs and trucks to the passenger automobile market.”

The word “Jeepster” was created by merging the terms “jeep” and “roadster.” Thanks to THE DICTIONARY OF DIFFICULT WORDS, I now know that “jeepster” is a portmanteau: “A portmanteau is when two or more words squeeze into one new word.”

“Portmanteau” is but one of the more than 400 difficult words included in this very fun, large-trim, illustrated dictionary. There are plenty of words here that I know, but also quite a few that I’ve never before laid eyes on.

“Borborygmus is the rumbling sound that comes from someone’s stomach.”

“Catoptromancy is when people use mirrors to uncover hidden knowledge. The queen in Snow White is practicing catoptromancy when she looks into her mirror and asks Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?”

“Metagrobolize...If you are metagrobolized by something, you are puzzled or confused by it. People use this word when they want to be funny.”


“Petrichor...Petrichor is the earthy smell that comes from rain falling on soil, especially after it hasn’t rained in a while.”

“Ultracrepidarian...An ultracrepidarian is someone who has big opinions about things they know nothing about.”

From the over four hundred word definitions, there are twenty-six highlighted words, one for each letter of the alphabet. Each of the twenty-six is given a full-page, illustrated sidebar containing an extended explanation. For instance, the letter P is represented by “Portmanteau:”

“Brunch is a portmanteau that combines the words breakfast and lunch, and spork combines the words spoon and fork. Some dog breed names are portmanteaus. A puggle is part pug and part beagle. A labradoodle is part Labrador retriever and part poodle.”

I’m sure that every teacher and librarian knows kids who will absolutely flip over this fun and engaging book. I’m presently agonizing over whether to hold onto my copy or mail it off to a fifth-grade bibliophile with whom I discuss the latest releases. Frankly, it’s a tough call.

112 pages             978-1-78603-811-1                      Ages 8-11

Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA

See more of Richie's Picks  http://richiespicks.pbworks.com


What is a bumbershoot? Or a moonbow? And what does it mean when someone absquatulates...?

Find out all this and more in the Dictionary of Difficult Words. Test your knowledge with more than 400 words to amaze, confuse and inspire budding wordsmiths (and adults). All of the words featured in this book are difficult to spell, hard to say and their meaning is obscure to most children (and most adults!) Written with simple, easy-to-understand definitions by lexicographer Jane Solomon, this dictionary celebrates the beauty of the English language for family trivia time spent around the printed page.--from the publisher

112 pages             978-1-78603-811-1                      Ages 8-11

Keywords:  dictionary, words, meanings, language, 8 year old, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old

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