Word Histories and Mysteries: From Abracadabra to Zeus

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt #ad - Photographs and drawings help familiarize the reader with the ancient objects or cultural practices from which our words have sprung. Fascinating and fun to read, word histories and Mysteries is an ideal gift for high school or college students interested in language and for anyone who wants to know more about the curious sounds we make to communicate every day.

A short introduction outlines the techniques linguists use to trace the history of words, and a handy glossary explains the linguistic terms that describe the ways in which language changes over time. The reader can learn how words were coined, or trace the origins of English back to the Indo-European language spoken long before the invention of writing.

Word Histories and Mysteries: From Abracadabra to Zeus #ad - Arranged in convenient alphabetical order, the notes are written in a lively and entertaining style perfect for browsing.  . Did you know that cats are related etymologically to caterpillars? or that thomas edison played a key role in popularizing the use of the greeting “Hello”? Or that muscles were originally mice, since a flexed biceps looks like a little rodent scurrying under the skin? Word Histories and Mysteries provides a panoramic view of the unique richness of English, uncovering the origins of five hundred everyday words whose surprising and often amusing stories offer insights into the history of humankind.

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The Painted Word: A Treasure Chest of Remarkable Words and Their Origins

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Viva Editions #ad - Whether old-fangled or brand new, all the words included in The Painted Word possess an ineffable quality that makes them luminous. He then fills it in with a tint of etymology and a smattering of quotes that show how the word is used, ending with a list of companion words. To untangle the knot of interlocking meanings of these painted words, logophile and mythologist Phil Cousineau begins each fascinating word entry with his own brief definition.

The words themselves range from commonplace — like biscuit, such as carrytale, like silly, which evolved holy to goofy in a mere thousand years; and words well worthy of revival, from the Basque shepherds who came to the American West; words from myths, such as hector; metamorphosis words, a twice-baked cake for Roman soldiers — to loanwords including chaparral, a wandering storyteller.

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