Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Words: Those Extant and Those Needed

You’ve heard of bibliophiles. They’re book lovers, the Latin word being a composite of “biblio” (book) and "philo" (love). But how about a few other bibliotypes to add to your vocabulary?

There's a bibliographe, a person who writes about books, and the bibliophobe, one who harbors an irrational fear of books. But did you know there are words for those who read too much (bibliobibuli); a person who hides books (bibliotapbe); people who rip the pages from books (biblioclasts); and even the overactive guy or gal who throws books around (biblioriptos). Amazing, huh? But this isn't the end — not by a long shot.

A bibliognoste is a person learned in the minute details of a book's publication like colophons, editions, dates and place printed, and who printed it. A bibliomane is an indiscriminate accumulator of books. There's a few of those around certainly. A bibliolestes is a book-thief while a bibliophtbor is even worse, a book ravager or destroyer. Yipes. There's even a word (bibliopbage) to describe the foolishly famished fellow who eats books! No kidding.

Yet with all of these nifty words available, I'd like to suggest a few more of my own invention — words I think are necessary to cover the whole range of book-oriented activity.

For instance, what about the young wife who suffers from bibiloemeril, a love of cookbooks? Or the politician afflicted with bibliobiden, the use of books for purposes of plagiarism? And we should probably have a word to represent the common enough practice of using books from one's shelf (or closet) to give as a present when you haven’t had time to go shopping for something else. Let's go with biblioregifte.

A few others that I think would be serviceable:
* Bibliosupportos — an inventive person who uses a book to replace a missing couch leg.
* Bibioinsecticide — one who uses books to squash bugs.
* Bibliopest — someone who reads only one book a year but adamantly insists that all his friends read it also because "It's absolutely the best book I've read all year!"
* Bibiocorsagi — a young woman who only uses a book to press her prom flowers.
* Bibliocsi — the unwitting criminal who, in the process of committing a felony, leaves his fingerprints or other identifying evidence on a book.
* Bibiloliar — the person who claims they have read books that they never really have.

And before we leave this etymological enterprise concerning books, I also have a few additional bibliophobe categories to recommend. After all, I've never really come across a person who is afraid of books in general. However, I can see the need for more particular book-related phobias. Here's a few:

* The fear of long books. This is quite prevalent among students (and a few members of our literary society);
* The fear of the inter-library loan process;
* The fear of coming across in a book quotations or phrases which are written in another language;
* The fear of disappointment one experiences when he or she goes to see a Hollywood version of a treasured book;
* The fear of being asked an opinion about a book given as a gift but which was actually tossed (unread) into a box in the basement;
* The fear of receiving books from an e-Bay vendor that are advertised in "mint condition" but which probably are not;
* The fear experienced when a Mom asks her high-school son, "Why don't you ever bring any books home, dear?"

Feel free to start sprinkling these new book-oriented words into your vocabulary. You'll find that your friends will be very impressed to see what a bibliohipster you really are.

(Denny Hartford)