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Chambers dictionary of Etymolgy
on November 13, 2002
Chambers Dictionary of Etymology is not a purchase I am glad to have made. I read the other submitted reviews and felt encouraged. But after using the book through a month of extensive etymological research, I find that the resource is much too thin, although the book is thick with 25,000 entries. The best thing is the prose style which is readable and invites easy access. But, it stops far short of intriguing threads of sense that are crucial for seious research. Where are the Greek and Latin derivatives? Why is there no folksy, learned fancy to touch a pertinent phrase.
At times this book provides, through its discussion like text, a tidbit or two that was of help. On the whole , I have found the much slighter book by Eric Partridge, "Origins:A Short Etymological Dictionery of the Modern English" to be far deeper, richer, more suggestive of pockets of sense, than any other I have used so far.
I bought Chambers to save money. Now I wish I had gone for something else, the Oxford, for example. Partridge outstrips Chambers at every turn. Having to learn abbbreviations is no objection : it takes a mere second or two, and the result only better prepare one for more rewarding refernec text usage.