428: Dimboxes, Epopts, and Other Quidams by David Grambs

by Gerard


428.1: Grambs, David. Dimboxes, Epopts, and Other Quidams: Words to Describe Life’s Indescribable People. New York: Workman Publishing, 1986. 181 pp. ISBN 0-89480-155-4.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 400: Language
  • 420: English and Old English
  • 428: Standard English usage and applied linguistics
  • 428.1: English language spellers

This is another one of those “look at this interesting list of archaic, rare, or foreign words for things” books. David Grambs’s Dimboxes, Epopts, and Other Quidams is a collection of terms of different types of people we meet in the course of our lives. This book got me thinking in that while you’ll forget a lot of these words while out in public, when you read the list, you’ll invariably call to mind people who fit the definitions provided. I’ll just spoil for you the definitions of the title terms (you’ll have to read the rest):

  • Dimbox: one skilled at smoothing over disputes
  • Epopt: an initiate into a secret society
  • Quidam: one who is unknown, someone referred to as “what’s-his-name”

Also included are terms for ladies with faint mustaches, folks who can’t keep their hands to themselves, over-achievers in the philanthropy department, and pitiable folks whose house has just burned down. It’s breezy, whimsical, and tightly written. If you’ve got a free afternoon and are a word nut, then add this to your collection—it’s worth the money.