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Reference
Words on Words


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The Mother Tongue
The Mother Tongue
by Bill Bryson
From Powells.com
"Everything, it seems, is interesting to Bill Bryson. The marvel is that he can make it all interesting to us....Bryson's book, Mother Tongue...is the one that convinced me he could probably write informatively and with humor about anything. I mean, who... (read more)

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Made in America
Made in America
by Bill Bryson
Publisher Comments
Bill Bryson, who gave glorious voice to The Mother Tongue, now celebrates her magnificent offspring in the book that reveals once and for all how a dusty western hamlet with neither woods nor holly came to be known as Hollywood...and exactly why Mr... (read more)

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Exaltation of Larks the Ultimate Edition
Exaltation of Larks the Ultimate Edition
by James Lipton
Publisher Comments
An "exaltation of larks"? Yes! And a "leap of leopards," a "parliament of owls," an "ostentation of peacocks," a "smack of jellyfish," and a "murder of crows"! For those who have ever wondered if the familiar "pride of lions" and "gaggle of geese" were... (read more)

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Schottenfreude: German Words for the Human Condition
Schottenfreude: German Words for the Human Condition
by Ben Schott
Publisher Comments
Ever thought, There should be a German word for that? Well, thanks to the brilliantly original mind behind Schotts Original Miscellany, now there is. Schottenfreude is a unique, must-have dictionary, complete with newly coined words that explore the... (read more)

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A Hog on Ice and Other Curious Expressions
A Hog on Ice and Other Curious Expressions
by Charles Earle Funk
Publisher Comments
Dr. Funk has taken hundreds of picturesque sayings that we use without thinking in our daily speech and has traced them back through the years to find the original allusions.... (read more)

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2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings & Expressions: From White Elephants to Song & Dance
2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings & Expressions: From White Elephants to Song & Dance
by Charles Earle Funk
Publisher Comments
Why do people "take 40 winks" and not 50...or 60, or 70? Did someone literally "let the cat out of the bag" at one point in time? Has anyone actually "gone on a wild goose chase"? Find out the answers to these questions and many more in this enormous... (read more)

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Why You Say It: The Fascinating Stories Behind Over 600 Everyday Words and Phrases
Why You Say It: The Fascinating Stories Behind Over 600 Everyday Words and Phrases
by Webb Garrison
Publisher Comments
The Fascinating stories behind over 600 everyday words and phrases such as... Shindig - A veteran square dance caller will tell you that bruised shins result from the swigging feet of beginning dancers. A dance that leaves telltale marks on the lower... (read more)

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Anonyponymous: The Forgotten People Behind Everyday Words
Anonyponymous: The Forgotten People Behind Everyday Words
by John Bemelmans Marciano
Publisher Comments
An encyclopedia of linguistic biographies: the witty, illustrated stories of the Earl of Sandwich, Charles Boycott, and other historical figures better known as words than people. Eponymous, adj. Giving ones name to a person, place, or thing. Anonymous... (read more)

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Words Words Words
Words Words Words
by David Crystal
Publisher Comments
"Lexicography is not just an exercise in linguistic accounting," writes preeminent English language scholar David Crystal in this exceptionally lively and erudite little book. "It is a voyage of lexical exploration and discovery." In Words, Words, Words,... (read more)

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Amen to That!: The Amazing Way the Bible Influences Our Everyday Language
Amen to That!: The Amazing Way the Bible Influences Our Everyday Language
by Ferdie Addis
Publisher Comments
Many of us have never read or studied the Bible, yet people have been quoting from its pages for centuries, not knowing the origin or significance of these timeless expressions. Let there be light! Amen to That will delightfully shed clarity on how a... (read more)

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Horsefeathers: & Other Curious Words
Horsefeathers: & Other Curious Words
by Charles Funk
Publisher Comments
Oh, horsefeathers!... (read more)

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Heavens to Betsy!: And Other Curious Sayings
Heavens to Betsy!: And Other Curious Sayings
by Charles Earle Funk
Publisher Comments
He's as mad as a hatter! Whether it's like a bump on a log or a bat out of hell, these expressions have been around forever, but we've never really known why ... until now! Finally Dr. Funk explains more than 400 droll, colorful, and sometimes pungent... (read more)

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No Uncertain Terms: More Writing from the Popular "On Language" Column in the New York Times Magazine
No Uncertain Terms: More Writing from the Popular "On Language" Column in the New York Times Magazine
by William Safire
Publisher Comments
There is no wittier, more amiable or more astute word maven than Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist William Safire. For many people, the first item on the agenda for Sunday morning is to sit down and read Safire's "On Language" column in The New York Times... (read more)

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Sticklers, Sideburns and Bikinis: The Military Origins of Everyday Words and Phrases
Sticklers, Sideburns and Bikinis: The Military Origins of Everyday Words and Phrases
by Graeme Donald
Publisher Comments
CN... (read more)

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Buckley: The Right Word (Harvest Book)
Buckley: The Right Word (Harvest Book)
by William F Jr Buckley
Publisher Comments
Buckleys provocative observations on the use and abuse of English, gathered for the first time in a single volume - a “veritable cornucopia of language and logic that belongs in every library” (Library Journal). Edited by Samuel S. Vaughan.... (read more)

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You Say To-ma-to
You Say To-ma-to
by R. W. Jackson
Publisher Comments
With subtle, acerbic repartee, Jackson has created a diabolically funny dictionary of words that even the highest officials grapple with. He trains his sardonic sights on everything from political correctness to pop music, corporate culture, foreign... (read more)

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The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics
The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics
by John Pollack
Publisher Comments
A former word pun champion's funny, erudite, and provocative exploration of puns, the people who make them, and this derided wordplay's remarkable impact on history. The pun is commonly dismissed as the lowest form of wit, and punsters are often... (read more)

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Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words
Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words
by Bill Bryson
Publisher Comments
One of the English language’s most skilled and beloved writers guides us all toward precise, mistake-free usage. As usual Bill Bryson says it best: “English is a dazzlingly idiosyncratic tongue, full of quirks and irregularities that often... (read more)

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I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World
I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World
by James Geary
Publisher Comments
From President Obama's political rhetoric to the housing bubble bust, James Geary proves in this fascinating and entertaining book that every aspect of our experience is molded by metaphor. "It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!" This is one of... (read more)

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Informal English: Puncture Ladies, Egg Harbors, Mississippi Marbles, and Other Curious Words and Phrases of North America
Informal English: Puncture Ladies, Egg Harbors, Mississippi Marbles, and Other Curious Words and Phrases of North America
by Jeffrey Kacirk
Publisher Comments
Gleaned from antiquated dictionaries, dialect glossaries, studies of folklore, nautical lexicons, historical writings, letters, novels, and miscellaneous sources, Informal English offers a captivating treasure trove of linguistic oddities that will not... (read more)

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