Sheepish confession: I like buying books for friends and loved ones, but some of the tomes I purchase are such yummy reads that I end up keeping some of them for myself! The latest case in point involves “Semantricks—A Dictionary of Words You Thought You Knew.”
Lewis M. Gediman’s small but feistily inventive “fictionary of daffynitions” gives readers a droll mental workout that sharpens their appreciation for the prodigious powers—and acrobatic dexterity—of “punsters,” or people who pun.
Granted, people who love to twist words into all sorts of double-jointed or pretzel shapes sometimes drive us up the wall, like our famous friend who has made it his life’s vocation to create new word meanings from dawn to dusk. You can’t have a relaxed conversation with him, because he’s constantly showing off, taking your words and turning them upside-down and inside-out, to show you how phenomenally clever he is, unlike mere mortals like yourself.
Yeah, you want to snarl back at him, I’m a dimwit and dullard compared to you, but at least I don’t drive people up the wailing wall—and over the cleft cliff! But, of course, you bite your tongue and patiently let his latest trite bon mot pass because—well, he’s a friend.
Thank goodness, with Gediman and his “pun pals,” no such dark and martyred thoughts eventuate in “Semantricks,” because they’re great at what they do. You just go with the fun, pun-tastic flow, luxuriating in the luscious fruits of their lickettysplit labors! Enjoy:
Accordion: Treaty or agreement arrived at under musical duress. Acrimony: Spousal support payments following bitter divorce. Aghast: Horrified by high petrol prices. Cinema: Filmed intestinal purge. Antics: Play of frolicsome insects.
Bangladesh: What angry Southeast Asian executives do. Bimbo: Where female airheads go when they die, to await assignment to heaven or hell. Bovine: Of or pertaining to the god of cows. Bravura: Really terrific women’s undergarment!
Camelot: Sahara parking lot. Carrion: Hand luggage for taking dead meat on airplanes. Coven: Witches’ cooking appliance. Crotchety: Of or pertaining to ill temper caused by twisted underwear.
Elegant: Large trunked mammal with impeccable manners. Faux pas: Bogus paternity suit. Flatulent: Apartment you allowed me to use.
Giraffe: Very tall spotted decanter. Gladiator: Happy warrior. Igloo: Adhesive used by Eskimos.
Necromancy: Teenagers’ light petting. Persona non grata: Untipped waiter. Quondam: Device formerly used for protection during sex.
Slapdash: Hit and run. Sobriquet: Nickname for a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. Taxidermy: Filling a cab with as many passengers as possible.
Ululate: Agitated admonition to tardy person. Wedlock: Inescapable marriage. Yoga: Plural of yogurt. Zinfandel: Heathen wine.
—Let’s drink to that!