The Deeper Meaning of Liff, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (6 ratings)


The updated, revised edition of "The Meaning of Liff", with illustrations from "Private Eye" cartoonist Bert Kitchen.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176 pages, illustrations
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Science fiction
  • ISBN: 9780330322201



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Showing 1 - 5 of 6 reviews.

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Review by

Abilene (adj.) Descriptive of the pleasing coolness on the reverse side of the pillow.Alcoy (adj.) Wanting to be bullied into having another drink.Hobbs Cross (n.) The awkward leaping manoeuvre a girl has to go through in bed in order to make him sleep on the wet patch.Ozark (n.) One who offers to help after all the work is done.Take two humourists, a wealth of human experiences for which there are no words (inexplicable given their commonality), and a world full of place names that just sit around on signposts; mix well; turn out the first edition, <i>The Meaning of Liff</i>; sell lots of copies; reprint with some extra definitions and an index and voila – <i>The Deeper Meaning of Liff</i>. I finished this with a Beppu [(n.) the triumphant slamming shut of a book after reading the final page], albeit ill-deserved as it's a very easy read even with a mate's effort at Dalmilling [(ptcpl.vb.) continually making small talk to someone who is trying to read a book]. Leaving her standing ahenny [(adj.) the way people stand when examining other people's bookshelves] in the other room and before finding my next Ballycumber [(n.) one of the six half-read books lying somewhere in the bed], I'm popping in to declare that this is the ideal way to avoid Great Wakering [(ptcpl.vb.) panic which sets in when you badly need to go to the lavatory and cannot make up your mind about what book or magazine to take with you]. There are no Frithams [(n.) a paragraph that you get stuck on in a book; the more you read it the less it means to you] to worry you nor any need to Bathel [(vb.) to pretend to have read the book under discussion when in fact you've only seen the T.V. series]. You'll end up smiling and with a few favourites that you'll endeavour to use as often as possible.

Review by

I can read this book with a straight face. But not for long. Sooner or later one of the definitions will make me laugh. This one seems apposite:"Ripon (vb.) (Of literary critics) To include all the best jokes from the book in the review to make it look as though the critic thought of them."And everyone should instantly start using this one, at least as a tribute to the author:"Scethrog (n.) One of those peculiar beards-without-moustaches worn by religious Belgians and American scientists which help them look like trolls."MB 1-x-2007

Review by

We all know them... The things in life that we all experience, but which don't necessarily have a name.This is a dictionary of those things.<b>Ely:</b> The feeling that something, somewhere has just gone horribly wrong.As an added twist, each of the words defined in the meaning of Liff is actually a placename somewhere in the world. Many of them are actually various odd village names from the UK (there are plenty, I live about five miles from 'Six Mile Bottom'!), but there are plenty from further afield too.One of the great things about this book however, is that its one of those that you can dip into for just a couple of minutes. A quick read before turning out the light at night, and you don't have to remember a narrative (useful for the very tired!)I do think that there should be a concerted campaign to make some of the more useful entries into words in common usage.

Review by

Just reread the book again. Very funny book, from the prefaces all the way to the appendix. Love DNA and the unique way he and John Lloyd have used their imagination.

Review by

I’m surprised that I didn’t love Douglas Adams’ THE DEEPER MEANING OF LIFF: A Dictionary of Things That There Aren’t Any Words For Yet. I certainly adored his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.<br/><br/><i>Ely (n.) The first, tiniest inkling that something, somewhere, has gone terribly wrong.</i><br/><br/>It seems that this book was really aimed at adolescent boys who find bodily functions amusing. There were many definitions that I laughed at but it was disheartening to find that there were outdated references and all the silly juvenile witticisms.<br/><br/><i>Wembly (n.) The hideous moment of confirmation that the disaster presaged in the ely (q.v.) has actually struck.</i><br/><br/>What Adams did, along with John Lloyd, was to take actual place names from around the world and give them phony definitions of ostensibly amusing quality.<br/><br/><i>Godalming (n.) Wonderful rush of relief on discovering that the ely (q.v.) and the wembly (q.v.) were in fact false alarms.</i><br/><br/>It took me years to find a copy of this book and I’m glad I did track it down, I’m just a little bit disappointed. There were plenty of giggles but this wouldn’t be a book I’d choose to take with me to a deserted island. It’s not a keeper.

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