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Main page » Dictionaries and Encyclopedias » Dictionary of Word Origins

Dictionary of Word Origins


This is quite an interesting book! There will probably never be another book like this! Fun because of the adventurous stories behind the words. Funny because the cross-referencing is... well, unusual. For example, you'll look up 'centigrade' and it will tell you to look under 'congress'! Other examples include: 'glass' => 'electricity'; 'pectoral' => 'parrot'; 'scratch' => 'knick-knack'; 'town' => 'villain'; and my favorite 'ventriloquism' => 'necromancy'! But that's just the beginning! There are even more... And then we have the Appendices. Appendix I is "Doublets" which are "words that have arrived in our language by different routes from the same source." This list is very useful especially for English students. Next we have Appendix II: Words From Names. These are common, every-day words that originate from proper nouns. For example: Did you know that the word 'coach' (as in a carriage pulled by a team of horses) comes from the Hungarian town Kocs where they were first used? Or did you know that 'dollar' comes from Joachimsthal, Germany where silver was mined? Or did you know that the yellow-colored shrub known as 'forsythia' was named for British gardener William Forsyth (1737-1804) who brought them home from a trip to China? And many other fascinating origins! This brings us to the last part of the book Appendix III: Given Names, Their Sources and Meanings. Any lover of words will love this section. Appendix III gives us the origins of nearly 1000 given names. For example: Did you know that the name Ichabod means "God hath departed" in Hebrew? Or that Jennifer is Gaelic for "white wave"? Or that Xerxes is Persian for "lion king"? This and many more from a book I highly recommend to all English students and lovers of words!

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Tags: because, There, pectoral, parrot, scratch, Dictionary, electricity