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The Etymologicon [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Mark Forsyth , Simon Shepherd
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (436 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 May 2012
This is a quirky, entertaining and thought-provoking tour of the unexpected connections between words, read by Simon Shepherd. 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.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: AudioGO (3 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1445847426
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445847429
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 13.8 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (436 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 75,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

'I'm hooked on Forsyth's book ... Crikey, but this is addictive' - Mathew Parris, The Times, October 13

'One of the books of the year. It is too enjoyable for words.' - Henry Coningsby, Bookseller

'The Etymologicon, contains fascinating facts' - Daily Mail, October 24

'Kudos should go to Mark Forsyth, author of The Etymologicon ... Clearly a man who knows his onions, Mr Forsyth must have worked 19 to the dozen, spotting red herrings and unravelling inkhorn terms, to bestow this boon - a work of the first water, to coin a phrase.' - Daily Telegraph

'The stocking filler of the season... How else to describe a book that explains the connection between Dom Pérignon and Mein Kampf, ' - Robert McCrum, The Observer

'A perfect bit of stocking filler for the bookish member of the family, or just a cracking all-year-round-read. Highly recommended.'
- Matthew Richardson, The Spectator, 15 Nov --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Author

Mark Forsyth is a writer, journalist and blogger. Every job he's ever had, whether as a ghost-writer or proof-reader or copy-writer, has been to do with words. He started The Inky Fool blog in 2009 and now writes a post almost every day. The blog has received worldwide attention and enjoys an average of 4,000 hits per week.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
184 of 187 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful 3 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover
Mark Forsyth's meanderings through the English language are carried off with a panache that frankly leaves other etymological 'dictionaries' looking dry, dusty and rightly shelf-bound. Indeed, the fact that the book starts with the phrase "a turn up for the books" indicates exactly that; this is not a reference book, but a new, unique and often hilarious way of drawing out the richness of English in the form of a comic journey through the verbal linkages, rhyming paths and allegorical alleyways which crowd the author's inventive mind. Equally, though you can dip in and out so it's ideal commuting reading. I was most amused to learn about the link between underwear and Christianity on my way home today. I shall be on Amazon stocking up on more copies to stock stockings before Christmas... Any link there?
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars have a serendipitous dip inside 8 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover
what a wonderful compendium of interesting links between the words in our language. this is the perfect companion to an armchair and a log fire; and, after reading this book, you won't see English in the same way as you did before - you'll see English as a far friendlier entity, full of interconnections and pleasing self-references. buy 'the etymologicon' today, i urge you: if you want to enjoy all the more every single conversation you'll ever have in the future, that is.
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146 of 150 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A witty and erudite delight 3 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover
This witty and erudite book was filed in the reference section of my local bookshop. But despite the slightly forbidding title, and the fact that it is full of enlightening facts and connections, it shouldn't be be bought for reference so much as enjoyment("edutainment", perhaps, although the eloquent Mr Forsyth would probably disapprove of such a clumsy coinage). Perhaps the best way to describe it is to say that it wears its learning very lightly.

The writer takes you on a whirlwind journey through a series of words and historical facts, ingeniously linking each one to the next. There's a fair amount of schoolboy humour, so perhaps not one to buy for someone who doesn't appreciate references to codpieces, but this all adds to the fun (who would have guessed that feisty came from a word meaning "fart"?)

It was very difficult to read this without smiling, both at the jokes and with the joy of discovering new and useless scraps of information.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
By A Common Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Like many people I am mildly interested in where words come from and I've occasionally read books like David Crystal's By Hook Or By Crook: A Journey in Search of English which looks at where English place-names come from. Unless books like these are skilfully written they can quickly become tedious and its usually best to get this sort of information in smallers chunk from newspapers or magazines.

Mark Forsyth publishes the Inky Fool blog in which he looks at the derivation of words, but links one to another in a humorous ramble through the English language. Mark is one of those lucky bloggers who's blog has now become a book, The Etymologicon, and I have to say, it makes for a very good read which I've been dipping into over the last week.

Its probably better to illustrate Mark's methods with an example than to describe them. For example, in a chapter headed A Game of Chicken Mark describes how in medieval France people used to gamble by putting money in a pot then throwing stones at a chicken until someone hit it. This was the game of poule, which is French for chicken. Later on, the pot of money in the middle of a card table came to be known as the poule and this term was picked up by English gamblers who changed the spelling to pool.

We read on to learn the forward connections to the game of pool and then to pooling money, and resources and then onto typing pools and car pools and ends with pointing gout that we have all become part of the gene pool "which, etymologically, means that we are all little bits of chicken".

I was surprised how in order to get his connections Mark has to link words from all the European languages.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a great little book. I was reading it on the tube to work and the Dutch word for butterfly (I don't want to give it away but it involves a very literal translation of buterschijte) genuinely made me laugh out loud, in a very quiet carriage. Erudite, witty, lots of fun and great to dip in and out of.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully funny and educational by turns 21 Dec 2011
Format:Hardcover
Not so much a circular stroll as a madcap chase, this is a book which never stays still for a moment and is constantly veering off in unexpected directions.

Another reviewer complains that the author is trying to make etymology "accessible", but I think he's aiming far higher: he's trying to make etymology funny, and he succeeds in spades.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll love this too 3 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover
Crikey, where to start? Well, The Etymologicon begins with... book... and ends with... book. And in-between it's crammed full of words of wit and wisdom. I now have a damn good reason for not liking avocados - their name comes from the Aztec word for a part (or two) of men's soft bits. And I was delighted to discover Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do has nothing to do with female deers and drops of golden sun (the truth isn't that much better though - it's a shortening of a hymn to John the Baptist). Finally, if you ever want to speak Latin with the apparent imagination of a football fan then there's the wonderful sentence 'Malo, malo, malo, malo', which doesn't mean your team is playing badly, but does mean 'I would rather be in an apple tree than be a bad boy in trouble'. Perhaps best to keep that one to yourself when on the terraces.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars You will love this book if you love interesting facts
Oh, I did enjoy this. If you are the sort of person who reads the dictionary (you look up one word, turn the page, see another, think "oh, that looks interesting" and so... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Ros Haywood
4.0 out of 5 stars Diverting
A really interesting, amusing and educational read. Good for travelling, if not in the mood to concentrate for a whole novel.
Published 4 days ago by Mr. D. G. Medley
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Stunning, Education at its best.
As an avid reader across a broad range of topics I admire much that is written and the authors responsible. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Mr. John
2.0 out of 5 stars tries too hard ...
The author strains to make this book interesting, and the subject matter is certainly fascinating. However he simply hasn't quite got the reserves of wit or quirkiness to make it... Read more
Published 15 days ago by A. J. McGowan
4.0 out of 5 stars One to dip into.
If you enjoy the origin of words and links between words then you will want to dip into this book.
Published 17 days ago by Sue
5.0 out of 5 stars entertaining and educational
I really am enjoying this. It is the type of book to keep dipping into, always entertaining, interesting, and I learn something new every time. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Julian Hulse Anne Hulse
5.0 out of 5 stars great play with words
I just love knowing why we use certain words in the way we do and their historical conotations. Just great read!
Published 1 month ago by I. A. Jakubiak
5.0 out of 5 stars Common words come to life
Take a word and you would be surprised of its origin and its complex journey to modern English, this book will tell you.
Published 1 month ago by 60thman
4.0 out of 5 stars Great
A brilliant read for the pedant in you. Interesting to learn where the origins of out language originate from. The Horolgicon is next.....
Published 1 month ago by RedFive
5.0 out of 5 stars Headline goes here
very cleverly written, with lots of information... you won't put it down, I liked the way the chapters ran into the next!
Published 1 month ago by Mr. K. EVANS
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