Thursday, August 18, 2011

Over the Counter #71

Well the latest book to catch my eye as it passed under my scanner and over my library counter was Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto. This is the kind of book I can get lost in, jut looking up another word and another....

From Arcade Publishing:

"What is the link between map and apron, acrobat and oxygen, zeal and jealousy, flour and pollen, secret and crime? Did you know that crimson originally comes from the name of tiny scale insects, the kermes, from whose dried bodies a red dyestuff is made? That Yankee began as a nickname for Dutchmen? That omelette evolved from amulette, “a thin sheet of metal,” and is a not-too- distant cousin of the word laminate? That jeans find their antecedent in jean fustian, meaning “a cotton fabric from Genoa”?

The Dictionary of Word Origins uncovers the hidden and often surprising connection between words. Written in a clear and informative style, the more than 8,000 articles reveal the origins of and links between some of the most common English-language words. They also contain an extensive selection of words whose life histories are intrinsically fascinating or instructive. This dictionary shows how modern English has developed from its Indo-European roots and how the various influences on the language—from migration and invasion to exploration, trade, technology, and scholarship—have intermingled. It is an invaluable addition to any English or linguistics library. "

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)


Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

Oh, this is a neat one. I love words and their histories. Very fun!

Dorte H said...

Word origins - ah, this one sounds interesting. I don´t have time to do it often when I teach, but I like telling my students about the origin of words sometimes, especially when it is a Scandinavian word.