- Paperback: 592 pages
- Publisher: Arcade Publishing (November 23, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1559702141
- ISBN-13: 978-1559702140
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 35 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #402,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dictionary of Word Origins: Histories of More Than 8,000 English-Language Words
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Learn about the hidden and often surprising histories of and connections between English words and their non-English ancestors. Perhaps the best inexpensive etymological dictionary available today.
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The dictionary is in alphabetical order with stories of how each word came into the English language and has evolved over time.
Alcohol - Originally, alcohol was a powder, not a liquid. The word comes from Arabic al-kuhul, literally `the kohl'--that is, powdered antimony used as a cosmetic for darkening the eyelids. This was borrowed into English via French or Medieval Latin, and retained this `powder' meaning for some centuries (for instance, `They put between the eyelids and the eye a certain black powder made of a mineral brought from the kingdom of Fez, and called Alcohol,' George Sandys, Travels 1615). But a change was rapidly taking place: from specifically `antimony,' alcohol came to mean any substance obtained by sublimation, and hence `quintessence.' Alcohol of wine was thus the `quintessence of wine,' produced by distillation or rectification, and by the middle of the 18th century alcohol was being used on its own for the intoxicating ingredient in strong liquor. The more precise chemical definition (a compound with a hydroxyl group bound to a hydrocarbon group) developed in the 19th century.
Take Science for instance, from the Latin word scienta meaning knowledge. Something they no longer teach in school is word origins. This one is easy to use, look up the word and it will send you to other pages to find the origin or it will be right there.
I love this book.
If you like to know about words beyond their definitions, this is an excellent resource. If you teach school and want to captivate your students, you most certainly need this book and several others like it in your classroom collection. You can marvel at students who grab word origins books when there is independence time in class!