Welcome to the Funny Dictionary!
Welcome to the website for The Funny Dictionary, a book of genuine and funny English mistakes, perpetuated by school children.
When the now-Chief Minister of the ACT Andrew Barr launched an earlier (non-illustrated) version of The Funny Dictionary in 2012, Mr Barr understood the point of the book. He said:
“Troy has sought to tackle some of the more amusing elements of life at a time when there is often too much seriousness in our public discourse. I think it is terrific to look on the lighter side."
Above: The Chief Minister Andrew Barr launches the first 100 copies of The Funny Dictionary, the forerunner to The Funny Dictionary: Illustrated (2017)
I cannot, however, take full credit for the amusing insights in The Funny Dictionary. Those amusing insights belong to the contributors themselves — the school kids who, to borrow from a review by Julian Burnside QC, lean out as far as they can over the edge of an exam paper and fall heavily to the ground. I have merely documented the splatter marks those school kids have left behind.
A lot has changed in the years since I published the first 100 experimental copies of The Funny Dictionary.
National and international politics seem more polarised than ever. Government and family budgets are tighter. Even the main resource I used to compile The Funny Dictionary, the National Library’s Trove resource, has faced existential threats.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve reached middle-age that it seems many of my friends are also doing it tough these days. They might be trying to cope with a recent death or illness of a loved-one, experiencing physical illness themselves, or confronting a mental illness. As I have revealed on my personal website, I, too, struggle to keep the black dog at bay.
Those struggles allow me to explain one of the main purposes of The Funny Dictionary. I want to give respite, however slight and however brief, to people facing hard times. Whether you have a chronic disease or a disability or infirmness or depression or you are just having a bad day, I hope you can take time out to forget your problems, even for just a little while.
Dip into The Funny Dictionary when you feel low. Ponder the delightful illustrations. And empathise with the school kids who have had a bad day, too. The Funny Dictionary is my little reminder that you are not alone.
The Funny Dictionary comes in several editions:
The Funny Dictionary: Illustrated (2017), published by the National Library of Australia in late 2017 is the edition you want. It’s a special illustrated edition of The Funny Dictionary. The National Library edition finally fulfils the vision I had for the book back in 2012: it’s published to a mass market by a mainstream publisher; and it includes wonderful illustrations using photographs from the Library’s pictorial collections. The book contains hundreds of entries and funny definitions, and a dozen or so funny essays.
The Funny Dictionary: Online. This website — the website you are on now — contains a free full-text version of The Funny Dictionary with illustrations by American illustrator Tosh Bibb. The online version includes 700 entries, 900 funny definitions, and all the funny essays. Around 50 of the definitions are illustrated by Tosh. It’s all available free so you have a sense of The Funny Dictionary’s content, but there’s nothing like the 2017 hard copy version, with completely new illustrations.
The Funny Dictionary: Second Edition (2013). This edition of The Funny Dictionary was available in print-on-demand and as an ebook. But it wasn’t illustrated and has other significant differences from the 2017 version. You really, REALLY want the 2017 edition.
The Funny Dictionary: First Limited Edition (2012). This edition is all sold out! If you have a copy, hang on to it. It might be valuable some day.
to this website to keep up to date about the new edition of The Funny Dictionary, competitions, and other news.
The Funny Dictionary