• RRP: £12.99
  • You Save: £0.91 (7%)
FREE Delivery in the UK.
In stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
The Etymologicon: A Circu... has been added to your Basket
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Over 3 million items sold. Fast dispatch and delivery. Excellent Customer Feedback. Most items will be dispatched the same or the next working day.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language Hardcover – 3 Nov 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 642 customer reviews

See all 14 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£12.08
£5.77 £0.01
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more
£12.08 FREE Delivery in the UK. In stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language
  • +
  • The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language
  • +
  • The Elements of Eloquence: How To Turn the Perfect English Phrase
Total price: £29.80
Buy the selected items together

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd; First Edition edition (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 (642 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

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.

See all Product Description

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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?
3 Comments 204 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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.
Comment 167 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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.
Comment 52 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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.
Read more ›
1 Comment 48 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This is an interesting 'romp' though the subject of the etymology of English - where we get our words from. If you think that you will be buying a reference book on the subject, you will be wrong. There is a hugh amount of information here, but it is presented as almost continuous prose, with hardly a moment to take breath as the subject changes. It is certainly a good read, but I am not sure I would have bought it if I had known what the style was like. There is no index or any simple way of referring to a specfic word origin.
3 Comments 44 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I, and I suspect like many others, heard this book when serialised on BBC Radio 4. At once I felt the need to own it and digest it's wordiness.
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.
10 Comments 76 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: holy roman empire


Feedback