Lexicography: Words That Sizzled

Wilfred J. Funk was born to words. He reveled in them, ranked them and made a small fortune from them. A lifelong lexicographer, he was a tireless missionary for the English language, and by the time he died at 83 last week, he had succeeded in converting many others to his cherished belief: "It pays to increase your word power."

Funk made the entire nation self-conscious about its vocabulary. For 20 years he turned out a monthly column on vocabulary building for the Reader's Digest, and he wrote innumerable books: 30 Days to...

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