- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: OUP Oxford (14 Sept. 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0198610629
- ISBN-13: 978-0198610625
- Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 2.8 x 13.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 648,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Gallimaufry: A hodgepodge of our vanishing vocabulary Hardcover – 14 Sep 2006
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"Michael Quinion, word scholar par excellence, provides an entertaining and informative look at many wonderful words and phrases that have mostly gone by the boards."--Daniel Boice, Catholic Library World
About the Author
Michael Quinion is a professional writer who has written widely on the English language. He was a co-author of the second edition of the Oxford Dictionary of New Words and the author of Ologies and Isms. He also manages and writes for his own web site World Wide Words, launched in 1997.
Top Customer Reviews
Yup, that pretty much defines the contents of British lexicographer Michael Quinion's fourth book of word stories. His previous book, Port Out, Starboard Home and Other Language Myths (2004) was a surprise big seller. It was no surprise to me because I've been following his work for years. He is the proprietor of a indispensable website, World Wide Words ( [...] ) that is well-known to word-freaks like me.
'Gallimaufry' focuses on the stories behind words that are disappearing (or have disappeared) from the language. It is divided into sections on food and drink, health and medicine, entertainment and leisure, transport and fashion and concludes with a delightful section on names, employment, and communications. We get the stories behind such words as (to take examples only from the transport section) brougham (named for a former Lord Chancellor), landau, barouche, cab (née cabriolet), hansom, and taxi, among others. (Did you know that the original form of 'taxi' was 'taximeter cabriolet'? The 'taximeter' ('taxi', tariff; 'meter' measure) part of the name indicated that a cab was the first public vehicle to measure the distance a fare was taken and charge accordingly.
Quinion's style is lighthearted while learned. I found myself turning pages just to see what was next. Admittedly I'm fascinated by words, having been a reader for the Oxford English Dictionary for a number of years, but Quinion's way of explaining word histories is unfailingly delightful and I think this book could be as interesting to the non-word-freak as was, say, Bill Bryson's book, 'The Mother Tongue.' And it's a lot more factual.Read more ›