Word enthusiasts will find trivia and treasure" (Kirkus Reviews) in this collection of unusual etymologies authored by an unmatched prose stylist and fabulous wordsmith.Over the centuries, thousands of our words have been so twisted, tangled, misused, and muddled that their original meanings have been obscured. You'll be surprised to learn that table napkins were once madeWord enthusiasts will find trivia and treasure" (Kirkus Reviews) in this collection of unusual etymologies authored by an unmatched prose stylist and fabulous wordsmith.Over the centuries, thousands of our words have been so twisted, tangled, misused, and muddled that their original meanings have been obscured. You'll be surprised to learn that table napkins were once made of and referred to as asbestos, a cloud was once a hill, and lasagna could beliterally translated as chamberpot pasta. In The Secret Lives of Words, acclaimed author and stylist Paul West fulfills a personal odyssey to seek out the elusive roots of these and a few hundred other of his favorite words, from abracadabra to zoot suit. Derived from handwritten notebooks, West chronicles the tortuous travels of words across continents and through cultures in this Antiques Road Show approach to etymology. A delight in both form and content, West's collection will capture the attention of word enthusiasts, speakers, writers, thinkers, and readers around the globe....
|Title||:||The Secret Lives of Words|
|Number of Pages||:||304 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Secret Lives of Words Reviews
One of those fun real-world etymology/idiom dictionaries with a bizarre personality behind it -- in this case Paul West, who writes with an old typewriter, and edits using scissors and paste ("the result being an origami palimpsest I have to apologize for when I lug the resulting manuscript to the copy shop"). And you can totally tell -- some of his beyond-writerly sentences stop your eye dead in its tracks.Each entry is something of an open-ended reverie, with lots of fascinating tidbits from literary history and linguistic science. Some of my favorite entries include poontang, catharsis, companion, serendipity, shag, gamp, and meerschaum. Fun for browsing, but a tough slog for reading straight through.
Much as I love books about etymology, this entry was hard to digest. The author's rambling sentences and extra-divergent thought processes make it too hard to follow. Typical sentence: "None of your streamlined series of marques here, with all branchings and variants meticulously labeled in subsets, but lingua saeva--fierce language--developing and faltering all the time, the result not unlike what goes on in the design shops of aircraft companies, where the numbers follow no even beat, and the offshoots come to have a maze of successive applications (e.g., PA-32R-301SP)." I guess I would say the same about his book,if I understand what he is saying.
Fun little reference book on the origin of some unique words.
I am ever increasingly intrigued with etymology and this one was a fun one to drink up.
Awesome. All about the secret lives of everyday words. Interesting and entertaining! Ok, so it is like reading a dictionary, but a very entertaining dictionary!
An interesting exploration the the mind of Paul West, and the words he chooses to write about, and the histories (personal and otherwise) and meanings he gives them.