- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Icon Books Ltd (3 Nov. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1848313071
- ISBN-13: 978-1848313071
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (626 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language Hardcover – 3 Nov 2011
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'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
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
I bought it and I digested it but was, I'm sorry to say, left with something of the feeling etymological indigestion.
I suppose the best way to describe this book to anyone would be to say that it reads like a poor internet blog or facebook posting that has been put onto paper.
However in this case that's sort of somewhat unfair since the book grew out of the InkyFool Blog written by Mark Forsyth which is, in my view, far more enjoyable than the book.
Don't misunderstand me. The concept of this book is brilliant but I felt that the brilliance didn't make it across into actuality.
For me, it's biggest failings are it's shallowness of explanation, it's grasshopper need to leap from word to word often without no immediately obvious reason and it's overall simple 'too smart by half' approach.
This is not a book for sitting down and reading since your brain will have turned to jelly before you're a tenth of the way through. Rather this is a book for the smallest room, or as I refer to it, a 'dip in and out' book for when there is just enough time to waste an idle moment but not enough to read more than a page or so of a more engaging book.
I'd have loved to have given The Etymologicon stars but I felt that in all honesty I simply couldn't.
If you enjoy words and their origins then I'd suggest rather that you visit the Inkyfool blog and read the basis for this book from it's source instead.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An entertaining and educational romp through the origins of words and expressions found in the English language, using clever verbal linkages. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Terry Day
Very interesting and entertaining book.. Also, very humorous!Published 1 month ago by Deirdre Hornshaw
Great read in nicely split chunks, perfect for picking up and putting down frequently when travelling.
Will be reading more by Forsyth!
Fascinating book. Enjoyed it so much, I bought another copy as a gift.Published 2 months ago by JenCat