Synopses & Reviews
Combining both accessibility and authority, The Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins
describes the origins and development of over 3,000 words and phrases in the English language. The book draws on Oxford's unrivalled dictionary research program and language monitoring, and relates the fascinating stories behind many of our most curious terms and expressions in order to offer the reader a much more detailed explanation than can be found in a general English dictionary.
Organized A-Z, the entries include first known use along with examples that illustrate the many faces of the particular word or phrase, from 'handsome' to 'bachelor' and 'cute' to 'baby', from 'pagan' to 'palaver' and 'toff' to 'torpedo'. Also featured are almost 20 special panels that cover expressions common in English but drawn from other languages, such as 'coffee', 'sugar', and 'candy' from Arabic or 'booze', 'brandy', and 'gin' (Dutch).
This absorbing volume is useful for language students and enthusiasts, but also an intriguing read for any person interested in the development of the English language and of language development in general. It also includes an extended introduction on the history of the English language.
The Oxford Dictionary of Word Histories describes the origins and sense development of over 11,000 words in the English language. Well-known idioms such as "say it with flowers" are highlighted with the dates of their original use and how and when they came about. Colorful popular beliefs are explored about the origins of words like "posh" and "snob," and insights are given into our social history revealed by language development such as the connection in a Roman soldier's mind of "salary" with salt. Throughout, boxed word-building elements show the various meanings of shared "relationships" between words.
About the Author
is Senior Editor in the English Language Teaching department at OUP. For several years she was Senior Editor in the Dictionaries department, working on many books including the Concise Oxford Dictionary (9th edn), and the New Oxford Dictionary of English (responsible for Word Histories). Glynnis taught modern languges for many years, and is multi-lingual. She has taught at every level, including adults.