I am reading this book: There's A Word For It! and the author Charles Harrington Elster claims that a particular excerpt was written by an ancient Greek philosopher Lexiphagoras of Alphasia.

I did some search with the google-fu "Lexiphagoras" and Google returned only 2 hits. Both the hits are referencing same book: There's A Word For It!

This has put my mind in the doubt that, did Lexiphagoras existed? Because there is no Wikipedia page or site or any Internet presence. Is it possible that, this philosopher's name resides in physical books somewhere in the corner of some library?

Can please throw some light on this philosopher and his work (if possible)?

I'll be pleased to read his work!

Thank you in advance.

  • 1
    Maybe it is used in the context of a "verbal joke"... See Grrel lexicos. Apr 16, 2019 at 12:29

2 Answers 2


It is clearly a joke... Charles Harrington Elster does not seem to be an Ancient Greek Philosophy expert.

If his work is about "words", I imagine that he has set up a "verbal joke" : see the Greek word lexicon : pertaining to words.

And see also phago- : the Greek root for "eating".

Thus Lexiphagoras may be read as "the word eater" or "the devourer of dictionaries".

Also alpha is Greek: alpha and beta are the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, from which alpha-bet.

Maybe Alphasia is the imaginary city of words...


That you are not able to find "Lexiphagoras" and I was not able to find "Alphasia" suggests that Charles Harrington Elster may have made this name and place up.

Looking at the use of this name in There's a Word for It suggests Elster is not expecting us to take this reference seriously. For example, Elster quotes a nicely rhyming limerick as one of Lexiphagoras's aphorisms.

Finally, Wikipedia's list of ancient Greek philosophers does not list him.

Elster, C. H. (2005). There's a Word for It (Revised Edition): A Grandiloquent Guide to Life. Simon and Schuster.

  • Thank you so such for your time and answer :)
    – Ubi.B
    Apr 16, 2019 at 13:02
  • If you are satisfied with this answer, @Ubihatt, please hit the checkmark on the left. This will change the status of this answer to accepted and keep it from popping up in the list of unanswered questions. Apr 16, 2019 at 16:19
  • 2
    @JishinNoben I know, I am regular user of SE. Actually, I got my answer in the comment section before this answer. I thanked the answerer because they spent their time to write an answer for me. But, comments under my question are more informative. I wish that, instead of those comments, it was an complete answer.
    – Ubi.B
    Apr 16, 2019 at 17:07

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