The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language by Mark ForsythThe Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language by Mark Forsyth

The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language

byMark Forsyth

Paperback | October 2, 2012

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Do you know why…

…a mortgage is literally a death pledge? …why guns have girls’ names? …why salt is related to soldier?

You’re about to find out…

The Etymologicon (e-t?-‘mä-lä-ji-kän) is:
*Witty (wi-te\): Full of clever humor

*Erudite (er-?-dit): Showing knowledge

*Ribald (ri-b?ld): Crude, offensive

The Etymologicon is a completely unauthorized guide to the strange underpinnings of the English language. It explains: how you get from “gruntled” to “disgruntled”; why you are absolutely right to believe that your meager salary barely covers “money for salt”; how the biggest chain of coffee shops in the world (hint: Seattle) connects to whaling in Nantucket; and what precisely the Rolling Stones have to do with gardening.

Mark Forsyth is a writer, journalist, proofreader, ghostwriter, and pedant. He was given a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary as a christening present and has never looked back. He is the creator of The Inky Fool, a blog about words, phrases, grammar, rhetoric, and prose.
Title:The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English LanguageFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 7.72 × 5.02 × 0.77 inPublished:October 2, 2012Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0425260798

ISBN - 13:9780425260791

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! I was curious about words after a boring class I had on etymology and I came across this book in the library. I had left my card at home and I couldn't borrow the book so I ended up buying it and it's just hilarious. The way he ties everything together really makes everything seem so much more connected. You never know where words originated from until you read this. Perfection.
Date published: 2016-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from if you love words, this is it! If linguistics was taught in universities the way Mark Forsyth writes about it maybe there would be far more wordsmiths around. Such a fun read to learn the origins of English language words and not only just Britglish and Americaglish terms.
Date published: 2016-12-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Etymologicon Don’t think this is a dry book written by a crusty, judgmental Englishman. English, he is, but crusty and judgmental? Most definitely not. Mark Forsyth takes us on a highly entertaining circular stroll through the history of our ever-evolving language. He makes surprising connections—the Latin for witness is testis from which we get both testicles and the Old Testament—and he sets aright some unfortunate changes in meaning. Angry protesters spouting angry opposition against an event or activity might feel better if they remember that protest means to bear witness for something. “Every weakness of human nature comes out in the history of etymology.” We see our frailties and failings reflected in our language. Soon was the Anglo-Saxon word for now; our procrastination led to the erosion of that meaning. The Roman word probabilis meant something could be proved by experiment, but people tend to be more certain of things than they should be. As Forsyth points out, “. . . absolutely any sane Roman would tell you that it was probabilis that the Sun went round the Earth.” By the time probably made its way to English, “. . . it was already a poor, exhausted word whose best days were behind it, and only meant likely.” From protest, soon and probably, we can see that we are complaining procrastinators who obstinately believe in shaky truths. Forsyth is funny too, in the subtle British way. “The Latin word for sausage was botulus, from which English gets two words. One of them is the lovely botuliform, which means sausage-shaped and is a more useful word than you might think. The other word is botulism.” He tells us why black can mean white and white can mean black, and why down sometimes means up. He reassures us that being an idiot might not be as bad a thing as we thought. And, he lets us in on the secret of what John the Baptist and The Sound of Music have in common. If you read the book, you will find out all that, and more. And the next time you enjoy a cappuccino in Starbucks, you can ponder both Moby Dick and barefoot monks, and it will all make sense to you.
Date published: 2015-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Like a mix between QI and Just a Minute, this takes you on a whirlwind tour of the English language. If that sounds a bit dry, trust me it isn't. A feast of amusement, information and surprises. One you intend to dip into only to look up several hours later having done nothing of the sort!
Date published: 2014-01-30

Editorial Reviews

“The stocking filler of the else to describe a book that explains the connection between Dom Perignon and Mein Kampf.”--The Observer

“Crikey...this is addictive!”--The Times

“Mark Forsyth is clearly a man who knows his onions.”--Daily Telegraph