Hutchinson’s wonderful book Dictionary of Difficult Words is a book that can accompany any conscious and egoistic vocabulary buff who is into the sophistication of language (English to be concise) while speaking or mostly while writing. However, be sure of what are you getting into because it cannot be compared to the Norman Lewis’ Word Power Made Easy for many obvious reasons. Lewis stresses on learning about the word usage and then applying that learning in your writing and speaking. However, this book by John Ayto rather focuses on providing a list of words, alphabetically organised, that are not in the common use – not archaic ones only – but the words which we just don’t use. Can you use those – yes? Can you use those regularly – probably not!
There are the terms in this book that would make anyone’s vocabulary look glutton and rich, no doubt. However, carefully analysing the terms once you begin taking a random look inside the contents of the book, will bring out that the book contains the terms mostly from botany and zoology and words from other languages more than it contains real English terms that can be used cleverly and cunningly to make one’s writing serious and mature and one’s speech eloquent and stylish.
If you compare, as I suggested earlier, this book to one classic of the vocabulary building Norman Lewis’ Word Power Made Easy, that book is more profound and deeper for those genuinely interested in word power building. However, this book, Hutchinson’s Dictionary of Difficult Words apparently suggests at the cover that it is not for those who are seeking vocabulary building – it is rather for the readers who are interested in playing word games and want to understand varieties of words and their meanings which are not in the popular use among the English speakers. So, the book has win sides and loss sides, both. You can make your decision wisely!
Yes, you will find some words which will be new to you and you can certainly impress your friends by using those learnt words from this book. For instance, metempsychosis is a term that you can find described in this book which you will not find else you do your research. There are many other words like this.
At last, if you are serious about vocabulary building, you should consider buying Norman Lewis’ Word Power Made Easy. If you are just curious to know more about difficult words you don’t know, you can buy this book as well.
You can buy this book from the link below:
Buy Hutchinson’s from Amazon India – click here
You can also buy Norman Lewis’ Book from Amazon India:
Review by Akhilesh for Indian Book Lovers
Dictionary of Difficult Words175 Rs
- Abstract Words
- Botany & Zoology Lexicon
Could be Better
- Not very Usable Words
- No Focus on Vocabulary Building