How does one go about reviewing a dictionary? Surely the only way to establish the utility of such a tool is good old Popperian falsification, by one day looking up the spelling of fuliginous and finding it isn’t there. So I searched through all the letters of the alphabet and sure enough they were all present. A – good; B – good; C – ooh, short but here nonetheless. Obviously this wasn’t going to be a corking read even if it was a little lighter than your average Henry James. I mean come on Oxford University Press, what are we going to be able to tell you?

The Oxford Dictionary of Synonyms and AntonymsIn spite of initial apprehension I found that, as I flicked through the pages, my interest increased. Fluttering through the volume’s leaves and perusing its constituent lexical items escalated my involvement in this sumptuous scientific enterprise. Never in all my wildest turns of fancy had I foreseen that such a tome could expropriate the larger share of my intrigue. Between the cover portfolios resides a pantheon of the most delectable morsels of diversion and beguiling charm that ever I have been so serendipitous to encounter in all my experience of such compendia. So wondrous esculent the participation in this adventurous creation that I laboured under the apprehension that it be crafted by an equilibrist.

My pilgrimage did turn to espleglerie at the consumption of such a surprising pabulum, ingested as it was by means of my oscitant optic chiasm. In peroration of this paean, I should like to ignite a vigorous carronade in panegyric accolade to the guile of Oxford’s proficient, versatile and pleonastic virtuosos who have so adroitly compiled a work of staggering perfection. Verbose.

Huw Green

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