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Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Allusions [Paperback]

By Elizabeth Webber (Author) & Mike Feinsilber (Author)
Our Price $ 12.71  
Retail Value $ 14.95  
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Item Number 130464  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   592
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.4" Width: 5.7" Height: 1.2"
Weight:   1.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 31, 1999
Publisher   Merriam-Webster
ISBN  0877796289  
EAN  9780877796282  
UPC  081413006285  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Outline ReviewNew Yorker founding editor Harold Ross, according to this book's preface, is said to have asked writer James Thurber once, with bewilderment, "Is Moby Dick the man or the whale?" Well, even Homer nods (Horace). But, Harold! Thou shouldst be living at this hour (Wordsworth). Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Allusions is a Big Rock Candy Mountain (American folk song) for anyone who feels amid the alien corn (Keats) when it comes to understanding allusions everyone else seems to grok (Heinlein). Thanks to the blood, sweat, and tears (Churchill) of authors Elizabeth Webber and Mike Feinsilber--compiling this allusional Rosetta stone must have taken a Herculean, nay Brobdingnagian (Swift) effort--we can come in from the cold (popularized by le Carr) of the dark night of the soul (St. John of the Cross) and dine out on (G. Gordon Liddy and others) these allusions for years to come. --Jane Steinberg

Product Description
A guide to references commonly used in speech and writing. Explains more than 900 allusions. Entries include examples from todays leading media. A must for serious readers, language lovers, and ESL students.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
years old, but still fun and educational to read  May 19, 2007

This is like a shorter, more accessible, and American version of Brewer's Dictionary, which this book does cite as a reference. Other differences are that this provides a pronunciation guide for certain words and that contextual examples are drawn mostly from periodicals pre-1999.

It includes allusions to poems ("snows of yesteryear" and "waste its sweetness on the desert air"), the Bible ("Sodom and Gomorrah"), 20th century novels ("Peyton Place" and the "Snopes family" in Faulkner's works), Latin usage ("ex cathedra") and TV ("Eddie Haskell" and "Ozzie and Harriet").

There are explanations of such terms as Daliesque, scorched earth, ignorant armies (forces blindly fighting with each other with no understanding of whom they are fighting or why), gnomes of Zurich, Walpurgis Night, zero-sum game, Mobius strip, Peter Principle, Heimlich maneuver, and non-denial denial.

Reading it, I also learned that the NSA was known as the "puzzle palace."

Fabulous!  Sep 30, 2006
I am addicted to this amazing little book. If you are at all a fan of language, or if, as many have mentioned, you simply wish to be entertained, this is your book. As would perhaps be expected, its authors are quite erudite themselves, and the journalists and writers that they quote are also top notch. This is my #1 read and I take it everywhere!!! Great for improving one's cultural literacy.
Lots of Content  Aug 14, 2003
The Merriam-Webster's dictionary of allusion has far more information than the Oxford Dictionary of Allusion. In addition, the allusions are more contempory than the Oxford. Over a week's time I read the dictionary from cover to cover. I came away with a week's entertainment, a better understanding of some phrases, and understanding of some phrases I had totally misunderstood for years. A fine book, I wish I had bought a hard cover edition.
This book is fun.  Apr 20, 2003
I own this book and have given copies away to family and friends. Most people who pick this book up and open it to almost any page will learn something, be reminded of something they forgot, or maybe get straightened out on a misconception they had. Rarely will they put it down without having enjoyed the experience.
When was learning ever this much fun?  Feb 21, 2000
Open Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Allusions to any page and you're bound to learn a thing or two..or three...or more. You'll also smile at the journey that brought you to new insights. The authors have done a masterful job of illuminating the language with scholarship and wit. So much brighter, lighter, enlightening and fun than most reference books--but no less useful.

Write your own review about Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Allusions

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