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Dictionary of Word Origins: Histories of More Than 8,000 English-Language Words

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  158 ratings  ·  9 reviews
With over 8000 entries, and written for the general market, this volume uncovers the often surprising connections between words. Written in a clear and informative style, the dictionary describes the Indo-European origins of English and includes many new words and coinages adopted each year.
Paperback, 582 pages
Published November 23rd 1993 by Arcade Publishing (first published 1990)
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3.86  · 
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 ·  158 ratings  ·  9 reviews


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Warwick
One of the better etymological dictionaries of English, not because it's especially comprehensive but on the contrary because it takes a smallish selection (around 8,000 words only) and treats each entry in detail. Unlike traditional dictionaries of this kind, which work backwards in time, Ayto begins at the beginning and works forwards, which has the effect of revealing the etymology to be a kind of narrative. Look up ginger, for instance, in a classic like Skeat 1884 and you'll get this:

Ginger
...more
Beorn
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: etymology
A surprisingly enjoyable read that, well, does exactly what it says on the label.
What I like most about this book is that it is written in an easily accessible, almost friendly manner with a good history of each word's origins whilst including all the necessary constituents and bits necessary to further research the paths and conduits of modern language that the word took.

Admittedly this probably has a fairly limited market to those with an interest in etymology but it's easily the best book I'v
...more
Kim Romero
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When your kid asks why do we call it...
Joshua
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Endlessly fascinating for anyone interested in language.
Cami
Jan 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: trivia, reference
A fun reference for those who enjoy the history of words
Melanie
Apr 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite books ever. EVER. I made my dad buy it for me for Christmas my eleventh grade year.

Thom Dunn
Wonderfully readable--i.e. legible--etymologies. It could be better: it could be bigger.
Bmankiewicz
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