- Hardcover: 586 pages
- Publisher: Writers Digest Books (December 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0898796555
- ISBN-13: 978-0898796551
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,254,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
English Through the Ages 0th Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a service we offer sellers that lets them store their products in Amazon's fulfillment centers, and we directly pack, ship, and provide customer service for these products. Something we hope you'll especially enjoy: FBA items qualify for FREE Shipping and Amazon Prime.
If you're a seller, Fulfillment by Amazon can help you grow your business. Learn more about the program.
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
"Laptop," "quality time," "politically correct," "wannabe," and "spin doctor"--these terms are all such mainstays of our modern-day vernacular that it's hard to believe they are only about 15 years old. It seems equally unlikely that, even in the year 1150, a person could live life in the "fast lane," eschewing his own "flesh and blood" and "sleeping with a comely whore" at his "summerhouse." Such a "witless turd" could even "tap" an "ice-cold keg," after which he might just "spew" his "guts" out. This hefty volume is sure entertainment for anyone interested in knowing that the word "smooch" is about 350 years older than the word "oink," that in the 1600s a "prick" was a nice guy, and that women were getting "knocked up" by the year 1665 (a good 30 years, for what it's worth, after the first recording of the phrase "women's rights"). --Jane Steinberg
From Library Journal
Brohaugh, former editor of Writer's Digest magazine, current editorial director for Writer's Digest Books, and author of two books about writing, has created a unique English-language reference. Unlike most books about words, this one is arranged chronologically, not alphabetically. The prime purpose of English Through the Ages is to show when words entered the language and became part of the written record. The body of the work consists of a series of word lists. The first three lists correspond to the first major stage of the English language; Old English, Middle English, and Late Middle English words are grouped in 25-year increments. A list for the 20th century is compiled in ten-year increments. Although some entries include the part of speech, a definition, the date of earliest use, other meanings, and related words, the amount of information provided is not uniform and sometimes seems a little thin. This is an interesting work that could be useful to writers looking for diction of a time period and students of language and history. A very brief history of English and a comprehensive, large index are also included. An interesting but not essential purchase for larger libraries.?Paul A. D'Alessandro, Portland P.L., Me.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
As some other reviewers pointed out, the index and organization could have been much more user-friendly with some slight alterations. For instance, the index lists the words in alphabetical order and gives a page number. Simple enough, right? Wrong. Because, when you turn to said page, you will have to find the relevant subject area (things like nature words, anatomy words, exclamations, etc.) AND THEN within the subject area--if you have guessed it correctly--you will have to go through word by word to find the one you are looking for and interpret its year because the "chapters" are date ranges like 1880-1895 and the words will be displayed alphabetically then by year then by subject matter.
For example (and ***I'm completely making the following information up***--not looking at the book at the moment), if you look up "horseshoe crab" it might direct you to page 652.
When you turn to my fictional p. 652, you see a bunch of lists in categories (Transportation, Housing, Nature, Exclamations, Human Anatomy), but decide on the Nature category. Below it you find a list something like this:
monarch butterfly 1712
raccoon dog (Japanese mammal) 1712
sea cucumber 1713
pin oak 1714
In this ***completely made up*** example, horseshoe crab would be from whatever the end year is for the chapter (looks like 1715 maybe, based on my other made-up example words).
It would be very helpful to have a page number AND a subject area listed in the index.
Also, they could have included the dates in the back so you can look up the word by date OR the date by word.
I sometimes have to look back at the key to interpret the year, because if a specific year is not listed it means the word existed by the last year in the range (1895, in my prior example), and it can get a little confusing. Sometimes there will be a mini one or two-word definition to explain which homonym is being represented, but it's not always clear what they mean.
Also, I might have thought that with something like 50,000 words, every word I know from the 20th century and before would be included, but I have found exceptions. There are a lot of scientific words included that I have no idea what they are, too, so it's kind of a trade-off.
Still, very cool resource and fun to look through. Great for writing historical fiction I would think so words aren't anachronistic, even if it will take forever to look up specific words in question.
That said, there will be times when researching a word beyond this book may be necessary. For example, I remember a quote from a distant king of England (danged if I can find the reference, though) where he says, after a great battle, "That was a nice battle". Obviously, the adjective "nice" did not mean the same then as it does now, because he meant that it was a fiercely and strategically fought and won battle.
If you look up "nice" in "English Through the Ages", all it tells you is that the adjective "nice" appeared by 1300. If you had a character use the word "nice" in 1300 the way we use it now, it would be historically incorrect. On the other hand - I imagine few readers would notice. I am not an expert, it's just that the King's quote has always stayed with me (unattached to the speaker's name).
The book is presented in two sections. The first section is divided into 23 time periods, starting with "In Use by 1150" and ending with "In Use by 1990". Within each time period, words are divided into many categories, such as "Geography", "Mathematics" and "Entertainment".
The second section of the book is the index. This lists all the words alphabetically, and refers you to the correct page in section one. If a word has different meanings, or can be both a noun and a verb, the word will have more than one entry. For example, there are 11 entries for the word "Point", starting with "n spot, position" (which means Point as a noun meaning spot or position), with the second entry showing the verb: "Point v indicate, as in "point with your finger")".
This is a great set-up, giving you two ways to approach the information.
Lastly, this is a quick-shot reference book. It doesn't have the etymological details you'd find in a dictionary. If you don't expect it to be a dictionary, I think that, like me, you'll find it useful (and interesting).
As a reference, it is basically a book of long lists. But there are insets of additional information here and there, and they can be humorous. Such as: "Deja vu came into the language by 1905. Of course, when the phrase appeared, it already sounded familiar ... "
The edition date of the book I just purchased on this page is 1998.
I had been relying on my (massive, heavy) copy of the Oxford Dictionary, to tell me when a word was first in use. It was time consuming when I just wanted to get through the day's writing.
With "English Through the Ages," the process is lightning fast.
I haven't found any reference comparable to this book. My advice: If you're a writer, get your hands on a copy of this if/while you can.