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A Word A Day: A Romp Through Some of the Most Unusual and Intriguing Words in English Paperback – October 11, 2002

ISBN-13: 072-3812230327 ISBN-10: 0471230324 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 11, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471230324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471230328
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #434,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

* “…Uncommon English words to enrich your vocabulary…”(India Today, 7 July 2003)

Review

"Anu and Stuti Garg?s many readers await their A Word A Day rations hungrily. Now at last here's a feast for them and other verbivores. Eat up!" —Barbara Wallraff, senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly and authors of Word Court

"AWADies will be familiar with Anu and Stuti Garg?s refreshing approach to words: words are fun and they have fascinating histories. The people who use them have curious stories to tell too, and this collection incorporates some of the correspondence received by the editors at the AWAD site, from advice on how to outsmart your opponent in a duel (or even a truel), to a cluster of your favorite mondegreens." —John Simpson, Chief Editor, Oxford English Dictionary

"A banquet of words! Feast and be nourished!" —Richard Lederer, author of The Miracle of Language


More About the Author

Anu Garg is the founder of Wordsmith.org, a community of more than half-million readers in some 200 countries. He grew up in rural India. He learned the English language as a second language and moved to the US to study computer science in graduate school. He worked as a software engineer at a number of corporations including AT&T Labs. Eventually he gave up his career in software for the love of words and founded Wordsmith.org to spread the magic of words.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 30 customer reviews
It is a pleasure to read about obscure words and their origins.
D. Friedman
Fans of the always-intriguing 'A Word a Day' email newsletter will be delighted to see this compilation by creator Anu Garg.
T. Cleve Callison
This book is perfect gift for word lovers, history buffs and anyone who delights in the quirkiness of the English language.
Randy Santoro

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 70 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
The reviewers I read echo my thoughts about this book -- I liked it a lot -- but they fail to warn how short it really is. There are 55 chapters, but most are 3 pages long, generously spaced, and the third page often has half or more of it as trailing blank space so the next chapter can start a new page. You can read it cover to cover in one sitting, so it's not much bang for the buck.
Buy the book, though. The quotations alone are worth the price, and Anu deserves some return for the AWAD website that he has provided free of charge for nearly 10 years. But the book would have been a much better value if it had been twice the length, which it could easily have been, given Anu's virtuosity.
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful By David Thomson on November 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
Anu Garg dreams of a "society (that) will replace guns with dictionaries." This utopian hope is unfortunately not likely to ever occur. Nonetheless, the author of this "romp through some of the most unusual and intriguing words in English" is doing his utmost to make the world a better place. Many loyal subscribers have long been receiving his free daily "Wordsmith" e-mail that serves to expand our knowledge and understanding of the English language. Garg takes us along on a journey to explore a myriad collection of words that aid us in communicating with each other. Ever wondered what one should call a group of Pheasants? What about annus mirabilis? Anu Garg will gladly tell you. He will also explain the meaning of a clochard or a massif.
The English language is constantly evolving. Those who lived in the Middle Ages would be bewildered by the common tongue of today. Our democratic culture guarantees that English will never ossify and be under the control of an elite oligarchy. We will keep on adding more words and reinterpreting some in new ways previously thought not acceptable. Thus, Anu Garg will never be able to rest knowing that his task is finished. He has a job for life. The author thankfully possesses more than sufficient talent to handle these responsibilities. Almost certainly Garg's delightful wife Stuti and their wonderful five year old daughter Ananya will continue to offer their assistance. This is a fantastic book that should definitely grace your personal bookshelf. Moreover, it also makes a splendid gift for just about any occasion.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By T. Cleve Callison on October 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Fans of the always-intriguing 'A Word a Day' email newsletter will be delighted to see this compilation by creator Anu Garg. Garg is a great and sensitive painter of the play of words in English -- their history, their quirks, their shades of meanings, even their sounds. Rarely if ever does he fall into the all-too-common trap of polemics about language deterioration that some commentators indulge in. Garg is clearly a lover of his subject and knows a great deal. Topics are presented in clever sections such as "I Didn't Know there was a Word for That!" The jacket blurb by Richard Lederer, no slouch of a writer about words himself, refers to A Word a Day as a "banquet of words." I wouldn't go that far, because my only complaint is that due to the large print and margins, I left this book hungry for more. So I hope there's a sequel.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Yvonne Caruthers on November 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm a loyal fan of AWAD, so I knew what to expect from this book and wasn't disappointed. Each chapter has several odd words, with their histories and examples of how they can be used. But for me, the best part of Anu's writing is the selection of quotes that appear at the bottom of each page in small print. Anu Garg has more fun with words than just about anyone around. You can't read him for very long without picking up his enthusiasm. I hope all AWAD readers will get a copy of this as a gift for others--spread the word!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Heather Buri on July 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is a compilation put out by Mr. Anu Garg. If you are not familiar with Mr. Garg, he keeps the "Word a Day" email list. Mr. Garg's love of words shows through his "Word a Day" list and now, this book as well. A great gift for any linguaphiles on your list.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
Suscribers to the AWAD mailing lists should be more than familiar with the entertaining and refreshing style of Anu. I have combed through this entire book and I have personally found it entertaining and useful. Some of the words are those we may use in our everyday lives, but the author also included lots of rare and exotic words. I don't believe that the purpose of this book be test preparation, but if you're the type who just enjoys exploring the wonderful world of words or adding to your vocabulary, this is the book to get. If you;re a word buff (like me), then don't miss this. Overall a great book!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Randy Santoro on December 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
I agree with the accurate praise from other reviewers. This book is perfect gift for word lovers, history buffs and anyone who delights in the quirkiness of the English language. My copy is always close at hand - just the thing to satisfy the urge for a quick tidbit of brain candy. Fans of Anu's A-Word-A-Day (AWAD) will love this book. If you're not already a janissary, check out Anu's site. You'll see why AWAD has brought daily smiles to more than 400,000 linguaphiles in over 195 countries. Soon you'll be hooked and want your own copy of this wonderful compilation.
Don't miss it!
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By D. Friedman on April 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
I will keep it brief because the title of this book explains its subject matter well. This is a well-written, intriguing little book that begs to be pored over at one's leisure. It is a pleasure to read about obscure words and their origins.
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