Ehrlich, Eugene 1922–2008

views updated

Ehrlich, Eugene 1922–2008

(Eugene H. Ehrlich, Eugene Harold Ehrlich)


See index for CA sketch: Born May 21, 1922, in Brooklyn, NY; died April 5, 2008, in Mamaroneck, NY. Lexicographer, educator, consultant, and author. Ehrlich derived extraordinary pleasure from the English language in its most varied and unusual forms, and he devoted his career to sharing his delight and inspiring others to do the same. He urged precision in the choice of words with similar meanings but slightly different connotations, and he enjoyed flavoring his conversations with properly applied foreign phrases. He presumed—correctly, as it turned out—that a growing fan base of readers would collect his dozens of entertaining dictionaries and guides to grammar, quotations, and other hallmarks of the English language. Ehrlich began his career as a teacher at Fairleigh Dickinson University, moving to Columbia University in 1949. Eventually he allied himself with the writers' cooperative known as the Hudson Group, and he consulted with technology firms and defense contractors on topics related to technical writing. Not surprisingly, his earliest books were primers, straightforward textbooks, and serious lexicons such as the Oxford American Dictionary and its several variants. The books for which Ehrlich is best known and most appreciated, however, bear titles like The Oxford Illustrated Literary Guide to the United States (1982), Amo, Amas, Amat, and More: How to Use Latin to Your Advantage and to the Astonishment of Others (1985), Les Bons Mots: How to Amaze Tout le Monde with Everyday French (1997), You've Got Ketchup on Your Muumuu: An A-to-Z Guide to English Words from Around the World (2000), and The Highly Selective Dictionary of Golden Adjectives for the Extraordinarily Literate (2002).



New York Times, April 15, 2008, p. C11.

Times (London, England), May 6, 2008, p. 56.