Word Origins ... And How We Know Them

Word Origins ... And How We Know Them : Etymology for Everyone

3.37 (128 ratings by Goodreads)
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"Millions of people want to know the origin of the words they use. Word columns in daily newspapers and numerous books attempt to satisfy their curiosity. Word histories are usually digested like pills: the user is interested in getting well, not in the chemistry of the prescribed medication. Those who send letters to the Editor also want a straight answer without bothering about how "editors" come by their knowledge. Therefore, they fail to realize that etymologies are seldom definitive and that the science of etymology is intensely interesting. Perhaps if someone explained to them that, compared to the drama of words, Hamlet is a light farce, they might develop a more informed attitude toward philological research and become students of historical linguistics rather than gullible consumers of journalists' pap." This is how Anatoly Liberman begins Etymology for Everyone, the only guide to the science and process of etymology for the layperson. This funny, charming, and conversational book not only tells the known origins of hundreds of words, but also shows how their origins were determined. Liberman, a world-renowned etymologist, takes the reader by the hand and explains the many ways that English words can be made, and the many ways in which etymologists try to unearth the origins of words. Part history, part how-to, and completely entertaining, Etymology for Everyone invites readers behind the scenes to watch an etymologist at work.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 147.3 x 213.4 x 30.5mm | 385.56g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0195161475
  • 9780195161472
  • 856,048

About Anatoly Liberman

Anatoly Liberman is a Fesler-Lampert Professor of the Humanities at the University of Minnesota. For the past fourteen years, he has been working on a new etymological dictionary of English. He lives in Minneapolis.show more

Rating details

128 ratings
3.37 out of 5 stars
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4 37% (47)
3 38% (48)
2 12% (15)
1 4% (5)
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