I own a great book (thank you, Jane) called "The Superior Person's Book of Words", by Peter Bowler (1985). It's very funny and has definitions (or explanations) of a bunch of great and, almost always, actual words that describe things perfectly. Not quite Ambrose Bierce, but chosen to effect an air of superiority when the occasion calls for it. Words like
- CONTRADISTINCTION, n.
- Why say "in contrast with" when you can say "in contradistinction to"?
There's another great entry for
- EREPTION n.
- Snatching away. Do not confuse with EREPTATION (creeping forth). Snuggling up to your beloved at the drive-in, you say, "I sense an ereption coming on," and suddenly snatch the M&Ms from her lap. If it transpires that she has put the M&Ms somewhere else, you will be compelled to perform an ereptation.
The whole book is like that. It's great. On the back cover can be found this:
- ACEREBRAL a.
- Without a brain. A word for which there would at first sight appear to be no use, since no entity to which there would be any point in applying the term could in fact possess this attribute. (There would be no point in speaking of an acerebral windowsill.) However, recent researches into the central nervous system of the wire-haired terrier have conclusively demonstrated the need for such a word.
I then (technically improperly, I think) applied a suffix to indicate a person who practices or is concerned with something ("-ist"), and came up with "ACEREBRALIST n. A person who tries to think without having the capacity to do so. (i.e. A person without a brain who insists on trying to use it.)"
You'll probably derive your own variations on the theme, but it's one of those words that you either get it and know to whom it applies or you don't, and probably never will. Remember, you heard it from me first. Don't go trying to steal it, Colbert!