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From the Publisher
"My favorite popular word book of the year"
-William Safire, NY Times 6/22/2008
A fun, new approach to examining etymology!
Many common English words started out with an entirely different
meaning than the one we know today. For example:
The word adamant came into English around
855 C.E. as a synonym for ''diamond,'' very different from
today''s meaning of the word: "utterly unyielding in attitude or
Before the year 1200, the word silly
meant "blessed," and was derived from Old English saelig,
meaning "happy." This word went through several incarnations before
adopting today''s meaning: "stupid or foolish."
In Semantic Antics, lexicographer Sol Steinmetz takes
readers on an in-depth, fascinating journey to learn how hundreds
of words have evolved from their first meaning to the meanings used