Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Eugene Ehrlich, RIP

Eugene Ehrlich, 85, Word Connoisseur, Dies
The New York Times
Eugene Ehrlich, a self-educated lexicographer who wrote 40 dictionaries, thesauruses and phrase books for the “extraordinarily literate,” not to mention people just hoping to sound that way, died on April 5 at his home in Mamaroneck, N.Y. He was 85.

His son Henry confirmed the death, saying he had been ill for some time.

Mr. Ehrlich’s works included “The Highly Selective Thesaurus for the Extraordinarily Literate” (1994). Another book in 1997 substituted “Dictionary” for “Thesaurus” and kept all the other words in the title in the same order. Another substituted “Dictionary of Golden Adjectives” (2002).

Mr. Ehrlich — who wrote from three million to five million words about words — made it clear that he thought defining everyday words with familiar meanings was a waste of time. In his preface to the “extraordinarily literate” dictionary, he said his higher mission was being the antidote to the “effects wrought by the forces of linguistic darkness.”

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