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Word Watch : The Stories Behind The Words of Our Lives Paperback – September, 1995


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Paperback, September, 1995
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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Editorial Reviews

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Anne Soukhanov, lexicographer and executive editor of The American Heritage Dictionary (3rd ed.), has based this book about new words invading the vernacular on her monthly column "Word Watch" in the Atlantic Monthly. The book's meticulously organized 13 chapters are filled with food talk, sports speak, warrior words, businessese, and advertising lingo. Each chapter begins with a list of words and phrases that are then sprinkled in a fast-paced overview; later, the terms are defined individually with quoted passages demonstrating their initial use. Thus the reader can learn of softgel, address hygiene (approved by the U.S. Postal Service), grassy knollism, Paula Jones disease, and trawler in context and by definition and often who coined them. For example, populuxe was the idea of Thomas Hine, critic at the Philadelphia Inquirer, who combined popular, popularity, luxury, and a fancy final e to portray the feel of the mid-1950s to mid-1960s when chrome, far-reaching tail fins, and split-level houses typified the lifestyle of postwar posterity. The way the words, anecdotes, and definitions are laid out, this book was built for browsing. Jennifer Henderson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Diane Pub Co (September 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0788156551
  • ISBN-13: 978-0788156557
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,250,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In this witty and informative volume, the former executive editor of the American Heritage Dictionary and writer of the "Word Watch" column in The Atlantic Monthly since 1986 generously shares her erudition with those of us who have not devoted our lives to the study of word origins. Soukhanov looks at 365 words, divided into 13 subject areas (including politics, law, science and technology, sports, advertising media, and food), that have entered our language since the 1980s. Each section is preceded by an essay exploring how that aspect of the culture has influenced our language. Entries provide detailed descriptions of when and how each word or phrase was first used and discuss its meanings and implications. The book ends with fascinating analyses of the many ways in which new words come into being, including the formation of compounds, borrowing from other languages, acronyms, euphemisms, and the creative use of prefixes and suffixes. Word-lovers of all ages will find this book a delight for both reference and casual browsing.
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