Most helpful critical review
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
opinions rather than research
on 9 June 2014
The Etymologicon was entertaining enough for the first page or so, but it soon becomes evident that there are no sources or references to back up what Mark Forsyth 'believes' to be the origin of a word. Given that he aims the book at people interested in the origins of language, it is a shame he didn't credit his readers with enough intelligence or interest to follow where his assertions had come from. Often he will say that there were several different possible explanations for a word's origin, but he just chose the one he thought 'most likely' (without detailing the others), which for me was personally frustrating; I was hoping for some solid research into the origins of words, not just somebody's personal opinion. I can do that myself at the pub.
A bit of a disappointment generally. If you really don't care whether what you're being told is true or not, then read this as it's fairly entertainingly written, but otherwise- don't bother!