Book Reviews

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

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List Price: £8.99


Paperback: 272 Pages.

Published: 06 June 2013 by Icon Books Ltd

ISBN: 9781848314535

EAN: 9781848314535

What is the actual connection between disgruntled and gruntled? What links church organs to organised crime, California to the Caliphate, or brackets to codpieces? The Etymologicon springs from Mark Forsyth's Inky Fool blog on the strange connections between words. It's an occasionally ribald, frequently witty and unerringly erudite guided tour of the secret labyrinth that lurks beneath the English language, taking in monks and monkeys, film buffs and buffaloes, and explaining precisely what the Rolling Stones have to do with gardening.


5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars  by Anne

Addictive reading

There is no real logic to this book. It moves from one word or historical fact on to another in a seemingly random fashion following one connection or peripheral idea and then linking to another. This means that it is not a reference book but just an interesting collection of facts for those of us who love words. I found it extremely enjoyable and very interesting because the author often delves back to the origin of words and then shows how they link to others. He also gives us bits of historical facts about how words were originally used and then how they have changed to be used as we do today.

I wouldn't read this book all in one go because there is just so much information to take in. It is best consumed in chunks - at least that was my theory, but I found it almost impossible to put it down because I wanted to see his next link. This did mean that I read large sections and then couldn't really remember how things connected - but I did, very much, enjoy it when reading it.

You are not going to finish by knowing anything at all useful. You also won't know anything in depth - to do that you will have to read something more scholarly. What you do end up with is a very enjoyable read, wallowing in words and meanings and picking up little snippets of information about words, their meaning and their history as you go.

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