Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins

Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins

by Robert Hendrickson
     
 

The most comprehensive single-volume reference of its kind, The Facts On File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, Fourth Edition has been completely updated and expanded and now contains definitions and origins of more than 15,000 words and expressions. This encyclopedia features anecdotes and information on the development of a wide range of words, including

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Overview

The most comprehensive single-volume reference of its kind, The Facts On File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, Fourth Edition has been completely updated and expanded and now contains definitions and origins of more than 15,000 words and expressions. This encyclopedia features anecdotes and information on the development of a wide range of words, including slang, proverbs, animal and plant names, place names, nicknames, historical expressions, foreign language expressions, and phrases from literature. The emphasis throughout is on words and expressions whose origins are not adequately explained, or not addressed at all, in standard dictionaries. Approximately 2,500 new entries have been added to this edition, ranging from Aardsma to zounds.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

An expansion of Hendrickson's (Dictionary of American Regionalisms) third edition, published in 2003, this updated version remains the most comprehensive compendium of word and phrase origins available. Now including 15,000 alphabetically organized, fully cross-referenced terms and idioms, this resource features cleverly written, paragraph-long entries filled with fascinating detail on the sociological evolution of colloquial expressions, proverbs, flora- and fauna-related terms, geographical and historical expressions, nicknames, and foreign words. Because the entries have both scholarly value and the capacity to entertain, the book is ideal for both linguists and lay readers. Recommended for English collections and public libraries.


—Savannah Schroll Guz
Library Journal - Library Journal
This is a collection of stories, speculative though entertaining, behind 7500 English words and phrases, from A & P through babushka, Calvinism, Davy Crockett, eggs Benedict, fifty-four forty or fight, German measles, and many more to ZZZ. The stories are fascinating, but the book is marred by many misspellings, particularly in the quotations from German. Still, it will appeal to word buffs and hence should be of interest to public libraries. Scholars will probably continue to rely on the OED and other standard reference works. Catherine von Schon, SUNY at Stony Brook
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This volume features more than 15,000 quirky words and expressions (2500 of them added since the 2004 edition) from the English/American vernacular. The text, arranged alphabetically, covers a broad range of slang terms, acronyms, coined phrases, literary references, and other dialectical gems. Written in an often-humorous tone, the brief entries consist of etymology and examples of usage culled from sources such as Shakespearean plays, films, or famous declarations. Terms range from classical nicknames (Heraclitus's "The Weeping Philosopher") to pop-culture references (the Seinfeld-ism "man hands"). Foreign expressions such as the British-born "do the needful" and the timely Iraqi "I throw a shoe at you!" are explained. Cross-references are provided, and the index includes listings of phrases and the subjects who uttered them. As the preface states, "No word or phrase has been eliminated because it might offend someone's sensibilities." Hendrickson admits that some origins presented are mere theories. Moreover, the lack of a pronunciation guide and the volume's anecdotal approach undermine its academic value. Still, the author provides an entertaining, informative look at the diversity of influences on the English language. Readers will find plenty to pique their interest in this strong secondary source.—Christina Connolly, Clark University, Worcester, MA
Booknews
Expanded and revised to 15,000 entries<-->roughly triple the greatest number in any previous collection of its kind. An effort has been made to illustrate all the many ways words and phrases are born (words deriving from the numerous languages and dialects that have enriched English, echoic words, coined words, slang, words from the names of places, people, animals, occupations, leisure activities, mispronuciations, etc.) An index has been added to help readers find people, categories, information, and anecdotes difficult to locate when just alphabetized entries are available. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Midwest Book Review
...provides a winner to any who want a comprehensive coverage more in-depth than most casual lay treatments.
Research
Praise for the hardcover edition: "...language lovers will romp among its pages with as much excitement as a cat rolling in catnip."
Rettig on Reference
William Safire
A feast for phrase detectives...that will enliven debates and illuminate issues.
The New York Times Magazine

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816032662
Publisher:
Facts on File, Incorporated
Publication date:
09/28/1997
Series:
Facts on File Series
Edition description:
Revised and Expanded
Pages:
754
Product dimensions:
8.93(w) x 11.31(h) x 1.68(d)

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