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America in So Many Words Hardcover – 1 Dec 1997

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (1 Dec. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395860202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395860205
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,892,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


This highly selective etymological dictionary of more than 300 of "the best and the brightest" American words was compiled by two longtime students of American English--Barnhart, a lexicographer, and Metcalf, a college professor of English. Arrangement is chronological. The words chosen--a representative one for selected years from 1555 (canoe) to 1748 (buck), and one for each year from 1750 to 1998--are discussed in historical context, sometimes updated with contemporary quotations and with additional words similar to or connected to the key word or phrase. For example, the entry sexism and ageism (1969) mentions other -isms, and Watergate (1972) mentions other -gate terms. Black-and-white illustrations accompany some entries. The introduction has a note on sources, which include titles such as The Dictionary of American Regional English, The Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, and the periodical Barnhart Dictionary Companion, as well as standard English-language dictionaries. The entries are organized into six chapters, from "The English in America: 1497-1750" to "Nearing the Millennium: 1945-1998." Words are assigned to the year in which they were "newly coined or newly prominent." Entries range in length from half a page to just over a whole page. Some examples of entries from the first chapter are turkey (1607), New England (1616), public school (1636), and ice cream (1744). The concluding chapter features rock and roll (1951), fast food (1954), soccer mom (1996), Ebonics (1997), and millennium bug (1998). An index by word brings together all keywords and words discussed in the text, and an index by date lists each year from 1555 and its keyword. Most ofthe words and phrases found here also appear in other dictionaries of American English, but this book puts a new spin on their definitions. It should appeal to both browsers and reference personnel in high-school, public, and academic libraries. It supplements more scholarly works, such as those listed in the source notes in the introduction. Copyright(c) 1998, American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

David K. Barnhart is the editor and publisher of The Barnhart Dictionary Companion, a quarterly magazine that reports new developments in the English Language, and the author of Neo-Words: A Dictionary of the Newest and Most Unusual Words of Our Times. He currently resides in Garrison, New York.

Allan Metcalf is a professor of English at MacMurray College, executive secretary of the American Dialect Society, and author of books on language and writing. His books on language include AMERICA IN SO MANY WORDS (with David K. Barnhart), THE WORLD IN SO MANY WORDS, HOW WE TALK: AMERICAN REGIONAL ENGLISH TODAY, PREDICTING NEW WORDS, and PRESIDENTIAL VOICES. His books on writing include RESEARCH TO THE POINT and ESSENTIALS OF WRITING TO THE POINT. He lives in Jacksonville, Illinois.

Allan A. Metcalf is a professor of English at MacMurray College, executivesecretary of the American Dialect Society, and author of books on languageand writing. His books on language include AMERICA IN SO MANY WORDS (withDavid K. Barnhart) and THE WORLD IN SO MANY WORDS. His books on writinginclude RESEARCH TO THE POINT and ESSENTIALS OF WRITING TO THE POINT. He lives in Jacksonville, Illinois. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting read into a specific sept of the English language. A thoroughly entertaining and informative book. Delighted!
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