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Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology Hardcover – September 15, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0062700841 ISBN-10: 0062700847 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 944 pages
  • Publisher: Collins Reference; 1 edition (September 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062700847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062700841
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.7 x 2.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In quantitative terms--number of entries and fullness of treatment--the Barnhart dictionary appears to be the best etymological work now availablle." -- -- Language

"[A] combination of readability with scholarship...of exceptional quality..." -- -- American Library Association Reference Books Bulletin

About the Author

Robert K. Barnhart is a respected lexicographer and author of several dictionaries, including The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology, the World Book Dictionary, the Thorndlike-Barnhart School Dictionaries and the Barnhart Dictionaries of New English.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

153 of 163 people found the following review helpful By tepi on June 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
THE BARNHART CONCISE DICTIONARY OF ETYMOLOGY. Edited by Robert K. Barnhart. 916 pp. New York : Harper Collins Publishers, 1995.
Most readers who enjoy poking around in the histories of words will probably like this dictionary. Printed in a tiny, though extremely clear and readable font, and with its 916 pages of double-columns, it will provide many interesting hours of browsing and research to all lovers of language who like to know where the words we use came from, their evolution, and something of the submerged though potent freight of their connotations.
As might have been expected from a 'Concise Dictionary,' the derivations, which happily avoid the use of pesky abbreviations and symbols, are themselves fairly concise. Although some are much longer, most of them seem to run to an average of about a hundred or so words, but they should be found adequate enough for ordinary purposes. It quickly resolved a question I had about the word "ether" in Emily Dickinson, one that had stumped other etymological dictionaries.
Predictably, however, and like other current etymological dictionaries, the Barnhart Concise doesn't yet seem to have recognized the existence of the Sumerian language. For the word MAMMA (page 453), for example, we are given only the standard explanation and European cognates.
But, all in all, the Barnhart Concise succeeds admirably in achieving what it sets out to do : to give us concise though detailed and readable accounts of most of the words - 21,000 in all - that we are likely to be hunting for information about. The only real problem that I can see with this dictionary is that it isn't really a book, but is instead what the docile modern 'unit of consumption' has been conned into accepting as a book.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By James Igoe on October 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Unlike most etymology disctionaries, its definitions are unabbreviated, informative and easy to read. The paper is a heavy and colored ecru. This is a truly beautiful book!
Please note, that my assessment of the binding - it's stitched on mine - was made two years ago, hence the difference between tepi's (above) evaluation and mine.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By britlitgal on March 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Barnhart's is a word-lover's dream. I enjoy taking it off the shelf and flipping aimlessly to a page, just to see what I'll learn next. As a reference it is very useful and thorough (although there are no pronunciation guides, as in a normal dictionary). As interesting reading, it is even more promising. Learn the history of such words as: freckle, pagoda, and carcass! One drawback: it's just not very portable. If Barnhart's is to be your constant companion, check to see if there's a paperback or desk size available.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Carlos on May 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
While there are plenty much more in-depth works for the specialists among us, I've found the Barnhart to be a great addition to my home library. Comprehensive for a one-volume work, attractive design, well-made (no binding issues here), and great for browsing.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By DT on February 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology appears to be an updated version of the Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology (1988). IT IS NOT! It is abridged, has 9,000 fewer entries and the entries remaining are shortened. The original is indispensable for people serious about their words. I cannot think of any good reason for this newer version. It is just plain inferior to the original - no improvements and not even much smaller. It's better than nothing, but if you want the best, get a used copy of the Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology (1988) H.W. Wilson Co.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 31, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent rendition on words and their meaning.

Accompanying each word is the date of use, definition in the

preferred mode and multiple terms defined. Sample terms are:

o gimbals-connecting links (1577)

o gitney-nickel

o mint-coin (1423)

This volume would be very valuable for writers, editors,

students and a wide spectrum of the general public.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gary M. Solomonson on February 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have found that you don't need just one book of etymology, but several, to cover all the ground. This book is a great addition to that part of our library.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Completetly satisfied wih this purchase! A reference I will go back to time and time again even if just for casual perusal. This dictionary should be on everyone's bookshelf. Period.
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