[Edprof] a treasury of old wordy expressions

Gerald Grow ggrow at longleaf.net
Fri Aug 29 10:50:56 PDT 2008

A magnificent anti-text, Greenville Kleiser's "Fifteen Thousand 
Useful Phrases" (originally published, I think, in 1917) has been 
placed online by the AskSam free-form database people. You can browse 
and search it at:


Take a look through it, especially the Literary Expressions and 
Striking Similes, which are a lot of fun to pontificate aloud.

You will find examples of the grand, florid pre-clear-and-concise 
writing of the late Victorian style, such as:

A breath of melancholy made itself felt like a chill and sudden gust 
from some unknown sea

A confused mass of impressions, like an old rubbish-heap

A drowsy murmur floats into the air like thistledown

A face as imperturbable as fate

A fatigued, faded, lusterless air, as of a caged creature

A book to beguile the tedious hours

A broad, complacent, admiring imbecility breathed from his nose and lips

A calm and premeditated prudence

... Perhaps this collection of overwrought language will encourage us 
to ask what are the stock "useful words and expressions" of our own 
time and profession -- phrases that, some decades from now, may 
strike everyone as "SOOOO early twenty-first!"

Bee's knees,

Gerald Grow

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