The Deeper Meaning of Liff
A Dictionary of Things There Aren't Any Words for Yet--But There Ought to Be
Publication Date: April 19, 2005
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Does the sensation of Tingrith(1) make you yelp? Do you bend sympathetically when you see someone Ahenny(2)? Can you deal with a Naugatuck(3) without causing a Toronto(4)? Will you suffer from Kettering(5) this summer?
Probably. You are almost certainly familiar with all these experiences but just didn’t know that there are words for them. Well, in fact, there aren’t—or rather there weren’t, until Douglas Adams and John Lloyd decided to plug these egregious linguistic lacunae(6). They quickly realized that just as there are an awful lot of experiences that no one has a name for, so there are an awful lot of names for places you will never need to go to. What a waste. As responsible citizens of a small and crowded world, we must all learn the virtues of recycling(7) and put old, worn-out but still serviceable names to exciting, vibrant, new uses. This is the book that does that for you: The Deeper Meaning of Liff—a whole new solution to the problem of Great Wakering(8)
1—The feeling of aluminum foil against your fillings.
2—The way people stand when examining other people’s bookshelves.
3—A plastic packet containing shampoo, mustard, etc., which is impossible to open except by biting off
4—Generic term for anything that comes out in a gush, despite all your efforts to let it out carefully, e.g., flour into a white sauce, ketchup onto fish, a dog into the yard, and another naughty meaning that we can’t put on the cover.
5—The marks left on your bottom and thighs after you’ve been sitting sunbathing in a wicker chair.
6—God knows what this means
7—For instance, some of this book was first published in Britain twenty-six years ago.
8—Look it up yourself.
Douglas Adams was the bestselling author of many works including The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, recently released as a major motion picture. He died in 2001.
John Lloyd is (he says) Britain’s most successful television comedy producer since Chaucer and is responsible for Not the Nine O’Clock News, Spitting Image, and Blackadder, among others.
More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.
For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org