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on 14 June 2017
perfect
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on 5 April 2017
Still trawling through.
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on 18 January 2018
Ratings Sero Sed Serio
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on 18 July 2016
On first acquaintance, this is a pretty standard 19.5cm x 12.5cm paperback that's wrapped inside an appealingly minimalist retro-style cover. It runs to a respectable 389 pages in total, but the quality of the paper being used here is slightly disappointing in that it feels unusually coarse - even at this price. The book initially exhibits a somewhat sickly aroma, too - although thankfully, its pungency diminishes with time!

A reference book of this nature serves two distinct purposes, and these are:

1) As a work for sourcing the etymology and derivation of first names

This is the principal reason why I chose to buy the book; and in this regard, I would have to agree that it turns in a perfectly acceptable performance: erudite yet concise. If there's a problem at all, it's purely one of scope: with 'only' around 5,000 or so names being categorised within its pages, this is little better than average for the genre (some alternative volumes, for example, encompass twice the number of name classifications)

2) As an aid to expectant parents searching for that elusively perfect name

In this respect, the book is surely not quite so successful. The volume is entitled a 'Dictionary of First Names', and that is literally correct: the names are listed in a strict alphabetical configuration, rather than being separated into two clearly defined sections according to gender. Whether a male or a female name, in fact, is denoted merely by employing a small bracketed 'm' or 'f' behind the main name heading, which is sometimes easier to miss than you might imagine - especially in cases where the male and female variations of a particular name are very similar.

Towards the rear of the book, there are some other useful listings, including:

i) 'Saints Days' (the relevant first names of the Saints are provided for each day of the year - handy if you're searching for such a name that corresponds to the date of your child's birth)

ii) Separate listings of the most popular local and worldwide first names (male and female) since 1700...but unfortunately, these are only continued up to (and including) the year 2003, which hardly makes them what you might call 'on trend'!

Ultimately, however, the problem of overall scope is once again the most noticeable limiting factor here, since some rival publications seem to provide many more options in terms of the alternative names they offer

In summary:

This is an authoritative though not entirely comprehensive reference volume that is presented in a handily portable size and offered at a not unreasonable price. Accepting its various limitations (as mentioned above), this is a recommended buy.
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VINE VOICEon 28 September 2006
This is easily the best name book which I own (and I own several). It is arranged in alphabetical order (as one might expect from a dictionary, I suppose) but for all names rather than with the usual Girl/Boy division. The gender of the name is indicated in brackets with either m or f. Each name has a paragraph of information about its derivation, meaning and historic use. This is far more thorough than many others on the market and allows you to make a very informed choice about your son or daughter's future name. I have used this book to make many suggestions to my sister about my future niece/nephew and she is very impressed. Even if you aren't expecting a child, this is an extremely interesting book to leaf through and well worth the modest price tag.
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on 22 June 2007
The Penguin Dictionary of First Names is easily the most comprehensive compendium of names I have ever come across. It is peppered with historical background and little anecdotes making it a most enjoyable read even if you are not planning on having babies but have always been extremely curious as to the story behind the name .
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on 6 August 2010
Is a pretty good list of names, focuses on Latin, Roman and English names is my preception. Mainly traditionally focussed
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on 25 April 2014
There are LOTS of names in this book..... I am looking for traditional names so was rather overwhelmed by the large number of foreign or 'names suitable for famous people!'

However, it is nice to see the origins of names..
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on 5 November 2007
This book is great. It has so many names from so many different origins and even the variants of those. Within 10 minutes of picking it up I had found 2 great possible names for my new addition wheras I'd found none in the countless books I had studied so far. Well worth the £8.99 RRP.
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on 11 August 2010
My wife was delighted when she received this book as a gift and has not stopped flicking through the pages since.
Good coverage of many names both common and the more unusual.
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