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Balderdash & Piffle

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  101 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Discover the fascinating stories behind the words and phrases we use every day. English is now the worlds most popular second language, understood by over 700 million people across the globe. Its use is amazingly broad: not only is it the language of Chaucer and Shakespeare, but also of hip-hop, international business and the internet (over 80% of home pages are in English ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 5th 2006 by BBC Books
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Community Reviews

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The Book Queen
May 21, 2016 The Book Queen rated it really liked it
An interesting and sometimes humorous look at language and etymology.
Brittany
Jun 26, 2008 Brittany rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People interested in etymology
How I Came To Read This Book: I was doing an internship in the Books & Audiobooks department at the BBC UK and I spotted this book in our prizing archives. The nice ladies in my department told me I could snag a copy and bring it home with me, which I gladly did.

The Plot: This book is basically a study of some of our most popular phrases and expressions – a virtual treasure trove of some of the most fascinating stories of etymology out there. It does focus a fair bit on British slang and li
...more
Ashleigh
Jun 18, 2013 Ashleigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2013
I've definitely been going through on an English language non-fiction splurge as of late. I picked this book up for 75p; I did watch the TV show, and I loved that so I thought the book would be a good read.

It is basically a collection of some of the most popular expressions and phrases in the English language - it's really a treasure trove of etymology stories! It really does cover a bit of everything - including many a profanity, which is always a bit of entertainment! The one story that stick
...more
Sarah
May 19, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
A very interesting book. I am fascinated by the English language, so much so that I wish I had enough money to do a course. But then if I had enough money to do a course perhaps I would do Theology. I digress.

Anyway, this isn't a scholarly tome but a fun look at the evolution of the English language. Some parts seem a little rushed, but it does provide a broad scope rather than an in depth analysis.

I'd certainly recommend the book, though it does cover profanity and swear words so if you're sens
...more
Meagan
Dec 01, 2008 Meagan marked it as started-to-read-but-didn-t-finish
I thought this book sounded delightful, and I have enjoyed books about language in the past. That perhaps, was the trouble. After reading the introduction as a sample chapter on the kindle, I didn't want to keep reading. The light, jovial tone came across as watered-down and condescending rather than charming...I'm sure there are some interesting word anecdotes in Balderdash and Piffle, but I didn't want to hear them in this way.
Misssharice
Jul 29, 2011 Misssharice rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in linguistics, words and their history and the English language.
Recommended to Misssharice by: The TV show Balderdash & Piffle
I really enjoyed this book about the history of the good old English language. This really stimulated an interest in where words come from and their origins. I especially enjoyed the chapter about swearwords as they are such widely used and controversial words.
Sydne
Feb 16, 2016 Sydne rated it liked it
A fireworks of words and description of their meanings. Quite an interesting read, but I couldn't say if I have remembered much- so many stories, so quickly fired after each other. Still interesting though.
Claire
Jun 06, 2008 Claire rated it really liked it
Recommended to Claire by: claireold@gmail.com
I really enjoyed this book. I enjoy words, language, idioms in general, so this book was well-matched to that interest. It's also well-written, light and entertaining. An enjoyable read for anyone who likes wordplay, puns or scrabble!
Roland
Feb 18, 2011 Roland rated it it was amazing
I took my time but it is brilliant
Tracey Sinclair
Apr 27, 2014 Tracey Sinclair rated it really liked it
Enormously engaging trawl through the English language, written with a light, witty touch.
Quiver
May 22, 2015 Quiver rated it really liked it
Shelves: a-english
More a 4.5 then a 5, but definitely entertaining, informative, and a 5 for managing to deepen further still my love for the language.
Saint No Stopping Us
Jan 30, 2014 Saint No Stopping Us rated it it was ok
Shelves: non, language, non-fiction

Five out of ten.

The stories behind the words and phrases we use every day. Interesting as a reference.

Sahir D'souza.
Dec 04, 2012 Sahir D'souza. marked it as etymology
I remember thinking of this book as funny, especially the bad-word chapter.
Jason
Oct 19, 2013 Jason rated it it was amazing
Like this review!
Tom Latham
Jun 20, 2007 Tom Latham rated it it was ok
Origins of the English language.
Rachel
Dec 16, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: cultural, language
Lots of entertaining stories about words.
Beatriz
May 24, 2014 Beatriz rated it it was amazing
Very interesting book, full of historical facts about the English language and funny life journeys of words.
Lynne
Mar 26, 2008 Lynne rated it it was amazing
I loved finding out about the origins of the words in the book, words you never thought were as old as they are, modern phrases and where they've come from, it's all highly interesting!
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