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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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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 Obamas political rhetoric to the bursting of the housing bubble, from conversations to commercials, James Geary shows that every aspect of our day-to-day experience is molded by metaphor. Geary takes readers from Aristotles investigation... (read more)

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Brysons Dictionary of Troublesome Words
Brysons Dictionary of Troublesome Words
by Bill Bryson
Publisher Comments
One of the English languages 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 seem... (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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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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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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Phraseology: Thousands of Bizarre Origins, Unexpected Connections, and Fascinating Facts about English's Best Expressions
Phraseology: Thousands of Bizarre Origins, Unexpected Connections, and Fascinating Facts about English's Best Expressions
by Barbara Ann Kipfer
Publisher Comments
The Amazing Secrets of the Phrases We Use Everyday Phraseology is the ultimate collection of everything you never knew about the wonderful phrases found in the English language. It contains information about phrase history and etymology; unusual, lost... (read more)

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The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language
The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language
by Mark Forsyth
Publisher Comments
Do you wake up feeling rough? Then youre philogrobolized. Find yourself pretending to work? Thats fudgelling. And this could lead to rizzling, if you feel sleepy after lunch. Though you are sure to become a sparkling deipnosopbist by dinner. Just dont... (read more)

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Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing
Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing
by Melissa Mohr
Publisher Comments
Almost everyone swears, or worries about not swearing, from the two year-old who has just discovered the power of potty mouth to the grandma who wonders why every other word she hears is obscene. Whether they express anger or exhilaration, are meant to... (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 funny, erudite, and provocative exploration of puns, the people who make them, and this derided wordplay's remarkable impact on human history. In The Pun Also Rises, John Pollack-a former World Pun Champion and presidential speechwriter for Bill... (read more)

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The Describer's Dictionary
The Describer's Dictionary
by David Grambs
Publisher Comments
Have you ever found yourself grasping in vain for that ideal descriptive word lost somewhere within the misty recesses of your vocabulary? Or felt frustrated that an oddly shaped structure or pretty setting you wished to portray in writing didn't quite... (read more)

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The Bibliophile's Dictionary: 2,000 Masterful Words and Phrases
The Bibliophile's Dictionary: 2,000 Masterful Words and Phrases
by Miles Westley
Publisher Comments
A Book Lover's Dictionary of Masterful Words and Phrases How would you feel if someone called you temerarious? What about ? Puerile? Gormless? Pusillanimous? Irenic? Sesquipedalian? Munificent? Insouciant? Lachrymose? Obdurate? Sedulous? Captious... (read more)

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Wordcatcher: An Odyssey Into the World of Weird and Wonderful Words
Wordcatcher: An Odyssey Into the World of Weird and Wonderful Words
by Phil Cousineau
Synopsis
Who knew that the great country of Canada is named for a mistake? How about "bedswerver," the best Elizabethan insult to hurl at a cheating boyfriend? By exploring the delightful back stories of the 250 words in Wordcatcher, readers are lured by language... (read more)

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The Meaning of Tingo: And Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World
The Meaning of Tingo: And Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World
by A Jacot De Boinod
Publisher Comments
A garden of delights for the word obsessed: a funny, amazing, and even profound world tour of the best of all those strange words that don't have a precise English equivalent, the ones that tell us so much about other cultures' priorities and... (read more)

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Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society
Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society
by Raymond Williams
Publisher Comments
Now revised to include new words and updated essays, Keywords focuses on the sociology of language, demonstrating how the key words we use to understand our society take on new meanings and how these changes reflect the political bent and values of... (read more)

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The Painted Word: A Treasure Chest of Remarkable Words and Their Origins
The Painted Word: A Treasure Chest of Remarkable Words and Their Origins
by Phil Cousineau
Publisher Comments
Lore for Logophiliacs and Word Hoarders Deepak Chopra calls author Phil Cousineau a "word wizard" and NPR's Susan Stamberg hailed his Wordcatcher as a must-read "because it's fun." Cousineau, linguistic detective and dictionary delver, is back with a... (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
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CN... (read more)

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The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language
by David Crystal
Publisher Comments
English is arguably the nearest thing we have to a world language, and yet it is a language with a wealth of varieties, dialects, and traditions, all developing in different ways and at different speeds. This book is a superbly written and illustrated... (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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