My spouse Debbie has read aloud to me every night for thirty years. Early on it was books such as Darwin’s “The Voyage of the Beagle” and “The Origin of Species“. Our first book was “Bantu Philosophy” by Placide Tempels. Last night we finished my bedtime reading with the completion of Roget’s Thesaurus of Words for Intellectuals, by Olsen, Bevilacqua & Hayes, subtitled “Synonyms, Antonyms, & Related Terms Every Smart Person Should Know How to Use”. It has 423 pages of words with their definitions, almost all of which we both knew, and eighteen pages of a tightly spaced alphabetical listings. What made this book exciting reading was the carefully honed usage examples of the two-thousand eight hundred words defined. It is difficult to know if the authors were following in the footsteps of Ambrose Bierce’s “The Devil’s Dictionary“, or alternatively, if they are incredibly stuck-up snoots. Here are a few to whet your appetite:
Chinks in America’s EGALITARIAN armor are not hard to find. Democracy is the fig leaf of elitism. – Florence King
Before Arthur applied to college, his sister offered him a CAVEAT: “Many of us do not consider Columbia to be a true Ivy League school.”
Learn to be pleased with everything; with wealth, so far as it makes us beneficial to others; with poverty, for not having much to care for, and with obscurity, for being unenvied. – Plutarch
Many of us maintain a PALLID pallor because we want to make it clear that we do not need to go outdoors unless we so choose.
What’s the point of taking on OPEROSE work when our social connections help us to achieve success with little effort?
Richard RESCINDED his order for a yacht, opting instead to purchase a private aircraft.
The way Emily NATTERS endlessly about her family’s new yacht is revolting to those of us who have owned several yachts over the years.
The SOLIPSISM of some members of the leisure class is distasteful to those of us who, for example, know what our servants need even more than they do.
It’s sad that we, at times, must place LIENS on our servants’ automobiles, but that is why they are the servers and we the “servees.”
The occasional kind comment seems rather enough to keep our servants TRACTABLE.
“We found it a HERCULEAN effort not to chortle at the outlandish clothing of the nouveau riche attendees of our party,” said Lillian. “How inappropriate to wear evening attire to an afternoon garden party!”
Conceit is an INSUPERABLE obstacle to all progress. – Ellen Terry
Those who profess to favor freedom and yet DEPRECATE agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. – Frederick Douglass
Michael has made no attempt to GAINSAY the persistent rumors that his family’s fortune rests solely on insider trading.
The TRITE subjects of human efforts, possessions, outward success, luxury have always seemed to me contemptible. – Albert Einstein
There is no man, however wise, who has not at some period of his youth said things, or lived in a way the consciousness of which is so unpleasant to him in later life that he would gladly, if he could, EXPUNGE it from his memory. – Marcel Proust