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The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language Hardcover – 1 Nov 2012


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Frequently Bought Together

The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language + The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language + The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd (1 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1848314159
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848314153
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Reading The Horologicon in one sitting is very tempting' -- Roland White, Sunday Times 'A magical new book ... Forsyth unveils a selection of those obsolete, but oh-so-wonderful words' -- Daily Mail 'Whether you are out on the pickaroon or ogo-pogoing for a bellibone, The Horologicon is a lexical lamppost' -- The Field 'A delightfully eccentric ... illuminating new book.' -- Daily Mail 'A magical new book ... Forsyth unveils a selection of those obsolete, but oh-so-wonderful words.' -- Daily Mail

About the Author

Mark Forsyth is a blogger and author whose books have made him one of the UK's best-known commentators on words. His book The Etymologicon was a Sunday Times Number One bestseller and was followed by the similarly successful The Horologicon. Follow Mark on Twitter @inkyfool.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Simon says on 27 Oct. 2012
Format: Hardcover
After really enjoying 'The Etymologicon' last year, I had great expectations of Mark Forsyth's new book and thankfully it didn't disappoint. 'The Horologicon' is the same but different: crucially, the dry, clever wit present in the previous book is still there and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the new one is also about words. However, it's the nature of these words that marks the book out as being different, and even more worthwhile, than the first. Whereas The Etymologicon dealt with everyday words and phrases - a much travelled path in the world of books although never previously with such an entertaining guide - 'The Horologicon' is all about forgotten words, ones with their own peculiar and distinct meaning and flavour. To make the trip through this language that time forgot as enjoyable as possible, the author sets up his tour brilliantly by following day in the life of you, me and he himself. What felt like everyday commonplace is made all the richer for it. I only hope I'm not guilty of 'ultracrepidarianism'! But you can be the judge of that.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Petra Bryce VINE VOICE on 27 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First of all, I have to admit that I went against the author's recommendation and read this book from cover to cover; alas, at least so far, I have not suffered from any ill-effects. A warning to any prospective readers though: while reading this, what Mark Forsyth calls a serious "reference work", I was rather prone to reading out random passages to my unsuspecting husband who had no choice but to listen. Please bear that in mind before you decide to buy the book.

As the front cover tells us, this is "A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language", starting at 6 a.m. and ending at midnight. Each chapter, comprising of one hour, deals with one major activity particular to that time of day, such as Waking and Washing, Dressing and Breakfast, and Commute. In his preambulation, the author hopes that this book will be used as a reverse dictionary: rather than asking "What does xyz mean?", he encourages the reader to ask "What's the word?" for a particular activity, then check the time and find the answer in this handy reference book, such as: "I really don't feel like going in to work today, I have to call up my boss to feign sickness", for which the word is egrote. The fact that my laptop's inbuilt spellchecker has just flagged it up just shows you how forgotten and obscure these words have (unfortunately) become. So your boss will not have the faintest idea that what you're really doing is whindling because you're suffering from a hum durgeon. The author's whimsical and easy-going conversational style of writing rather masks his eloquence and hard work that has obviously gone into this book, and it is easy to tell that it is a true labour of love, peppered as it is with such lovely alliterations such as herbaceous hedonism and linguistic lowlands.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JK TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I haven't read anything else by Mark Forsyth and wasn't sure what to expect. Certainly wasn't expecting this wonderful mix of fun and fact. Full credit has to go to Forsyth if only for the amount of work that went into researching The Horologicon. Firstly; this isn't a book you'd necessarily want to sit down and read from cover to cover in one sitting. The Horologicon is more a book you dip in and out off for fun, or inspiration, unless you're a English language buff or a quiz master. Written in the form of a book of hours, the chapters are broken up into time slices:-

Chapter 1:- 6 am - Dawn
Chapter 2: 7 am - Waking and Washing
Continuing through until Midnight.

Each time slice contains a selection of extraordinary words relative to their own particular time of day. You might not think you'll ever use words like these but; once you've read the book I'll bet you're soon dropping them into the conversation. It's impossible not to do it once you've become "infected". My favourite is "quidnunc" - you'll have to read the book. I know a great many of them!.

Of course, The Horologican isn't simply a list of words or the usual Dictionary. Each word is accompanied by a wealth of information explaining it's origin, type, history and, even more importantly, where it should sit in a sentence so you sound as though you know what you're talking about!.

If you're writing a speech, hosting a quiz, interested in the English language or just want a laugh then you'll get a great deal of fun out of The Horologicon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 21 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Are you looking for that wonderful gift to present to the individual in your life who appears to have swallowed a lexicon with their mornings repast, and have you been a bit tardy in getting said article? Well fret not here is an awesome nay, Brobdingnagian offering that could easily engender feelings of exuberance and even adoration from said recipient!

In his preambulation Mark Forsyth states that this book is for those words that are..

"To beautiful to live long, too amusing to be taken seriously, too precise to become common, too vulgar to survive in polite company, or too poetic to thrive in this age of prose."

He goes on to say that these words languish away in old and arenaceous dictionaries, that these are the lost words and the great secrets of civilisations that can still be of use today.

What sets this marvellous read apart from your standard lexicon is the method of recording used does not follow the A - Z format. In fact the writer states that by having words arranged alphabetically within a dictionary you render them useless as they bear no relation to their neighbouring words and are estranged from those words they share a relationship with (for example in the Oxford English Dictionary, wine and corkscrew are separated by seventeen volumes). This led the author after hours of rumination and a degree of puttering to fix upon the idea of using the medieval book of hours as his solution to this dilemma, in the process reinventing the reference book for the modern world and it's constant haste.
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