Download Word Histories and Mysteries: From Abracadabra to Zeus by Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries PDF

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By Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries

Were you aware that cats are similar etymologically to caterpillars? Or that Thomas Edison performed a key position in popularizing using the greeting “Hello”? Or that muscle mass have been initially mice, for the reason that a flexed biceps appears like a bit rodent scurrying lower than the skin?Word Histories and Mysteries offers a breathtaking view of the original richness of English, uncovering the origins of 5 hundred daily phrases whose spectacular and sometimes a laugh tales supply insights into the heritage of humankind. prepared in handy alphabetical order, the notes are written in a full of life and wonderful kind excellent for searching. The reader can find out how probably the most contemporary phrases, resembling the pc time period wiki, have been coined, or hint the origins of English again to the Indo-European language spoken lengthy prior to the discovery of writing.A brief creation outlines the strategies linguists use to track the heritage of phrases, and a convenient word list explains the linguistic phrases that describe the ways that language alterations through the years. pictures and drawings aid familiarize the reader with the traditional gadgets or cultural practices from which our phrases have sprung.Fascinating and enjoyable to learn, note Histories and Mysteries is a perfect present for prime college or students drawn to language and for someone who desires to recognize extra concerning the curious sounds we make to speak on a daily basis.

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Extra info for Word Histories and Mysteries: From Abracadabra to Zeus (American Heritage Dictionaries)

Example text

The further developments of word are quite recent: capitalist, “one who possesses wealth,” dates from the eighteenth century, while capitalism, denoting the economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned, first appears in the nineteenth century. caviar lthough caviar might seem to be something quintessentially Russian, the word caviar is not, the native Russian term being ikra. Caviar first came into English in the sixteenth century, probably by way of French and Italian, which borrowed it from Turkish havyar.

Others have suggested that the name derives I 32 Word Histories and Mysteries from the insect’s reputation for stealing butter, since there is an old belief that the butterfly was really a larcenous witch in disguise. ” It is possible that by–, as in byway, has influenced bylaw in the sense “secondary law”; however, bylaw existed long before the sense in question. ” By– comes from Old Norse (as may the whole word bylaw) and is related to the element –by in the names of many places where Scandinavians settled when they invaded England during the early Middle Ages, such as Whitby.

Thus, it is difficult to say whether the Modern English word asparagus is a direct continuation of Middle English sperage or a borrowing directly from Latin, a difficulty one encounters with hundreds of other words whose spellings and even pronunciations were Latinized during this time. The Latin form asparagus lives on in another guise as well; in the 1600s it was shortened in popular speech to ’sparagus, which became sparagrass and sparrowgrass by folk etymology. asset n England after the Norman Conquest in 1066, French, the language of the conquerors, became the language of law.

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