Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Gallimaufry: A Hodgepodge of Our Vanishing Vocabulary Paperback – April 2, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0199551026 ISBN-10: 0199551022

9 New from $31.31 59 Used from $0.01
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$31.31 $0.01

Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Save up to 90% on Textbooks
Rent textbooks, buy textbooks, or get up to 80% back when you sell us your books. Shop Now

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (April 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199551022
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199551026
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,605,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

`Review from previous edition I have bought my husband's Christmas present' Dot Wordsworth, The Spectator

`A fascinating book, full of the kind of authoritative information his readers have come to expect' Jonathon Green, World Wide Words

About the Author


Michael Quinion is a professional writer who has published widely on the English language. He was a co-author of the second edition of the Oxford Dictionary of New Words.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
5
4 star
3
3 star
0
2 star
1
1 star
0
See all 9 customer reviews
This is a book for those who are intrigued by the extraordinary variety of English words.
John Fulford
Nevertheless, I really did enjoy the book, I found it very intriguing, I love this kind of stuff and I'm glad I invested in this particular book! :)
Amazon Customer
Mostly, thought, this book is just plain FUN: a collection of bon mots and "how BOUT that!"s you can enjoy in small doses.
Esther Schindler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Gallimaufry (noun) - 1. a dish made up of leftovers 2. a miscellaneous jumble or medley

Yup, that pretty much defines the contents of British lexicographer Michael Quinion's fourth book of word stories. His previous book, Port Out, Starboard Home and Other Language Myths (2004) was a surprise big seller. It was no surprise to me because I've been following his work for years. He is the proprietor of an indispensable website, World Wide Words ( [...] ) that is well-known to word-freaks like me.

'Gallimaufry' focuses on the stories behind words that are disappearing (or have disappeared) from the language. It is divided into sections on food and drink, health and medicine, entertainment and leisure, transport and fashion and concludes with a delightful section on names, employment, and communications. We get the stories behind such words as (to take examples only from the transport section) brougham (named for a former Lord Chancellor), landau, barouche, cab (née cabriolet), hansom, and taxi, among others. Did you know that the original form of 'taxi' was 'taximeter cabriolet'? The 'taximeter' -- 'taxi', tariff; 'meter' measure -- part of the name indicated that a cab was the first public vehicle to measure the distance a fare was taken and to charge accordingly.

Quinion's style is lighthearted while learned. I found myself turning pages just to see what was next. Admittedly I'm fascinated by words, having been a reader for the Oxford English Dictionary for a number of years, but Quinion's way of explaining word histories is unfailingly delightful and I think this book could be as interesting to the non-word-freak as was, say, Bill Bryson's book, 'The Mother Tongue.' And it's a lot more factual.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Esther Schindler TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've been a subscriber to Michael Quinion's free "worldwide words" email newsletter for at least ten years. He never fails to enchant me with "fun facts" that both add to my vocabulary and make me giggle out loud. In this volume, Quinion organizes the words that have disappeared from English. Sometimes it's because the item itself changed (when was the last time you actually _dialed_ a telephone?). Or, as Quinion explains in the introduction, the word shifts meaning, taking on a figurative sense which then usurps the original (russet was originally a type of cloth, not a color). Or -- well, he explains it better than I can. The point is that these words have fallen out of use; he explains the original meaning and why they disappeared.

For example, in a section on below-stairs life: "The beer came from the buttery. Originally, that had nothing to do with butter, but was the room off the hall, near the pantry, where the butts were kept; those were big casks of beer (Old French bot, from late Latin buttis, cask or wineskin). The man in charge here was the butler, at that time a much more lowly servant than the magisterial supervisor of the below-stairs realm he became later." And he keeps going for a little while... never losing my interest.

Gallimaufry is separated into several sections, including food and drink; health and medicine; entertainment and leisure; transport and fashion; and names, employment, and communications.

I'm sure that most of my writer-friends will put the book on their wishlists right now (and it *would* be a great, affordable present for any wordsmith you know) because Quinion puts some magic into language and how it evolves. Surely this is fodder for plenty of Scrabble games and erudite bar bets.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter L. Smith on May 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed Gallimaufry. Like the author's website ([...]) the book is a compendium of archaic or esoteric words, or simply of fun words (such as fipple) in danger of becoming lost. His concentration on the origins and mutations of these words is, to me at least, particularly interesting. The book is composed of loose topical groupings and meanders freely through time and geography. As does the website, the books skews toward English rather than American English. I'd highly recommend it to lovers of words, esoterica or just general "stuff".
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Old words amuse me, but this book is really just a list of old words. It doesn't delve into the history or etymology of them like I had expected. It's more like "WEIRDWORD" used to mean a grey pudding made out of oats. It was a little different from "SIMILARWORD" which used barley. Page after page of that, organized into chapters based on topic. Not the novel and interesting book I expected.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book for those who are intrigued by the extraordinary variety of English words. Written by an expert and extremely well researched it is also light reading that can be put down and picked up any time. As an author, I was fascinated by the wide variety and strange histories of the words and learned something new on every page, if not every paragraph. These are words we use every day but their original meanings are often far removed and sometimes quite different. Surprise yourself.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Search