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Wordcatcher: An Odyssey into the World of Weird and Wonderful Words
     

Wordcatcher: An Odyssey into the World of Weird and Wonderful Words

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by Phil Cousineau
 

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Who knew that the great country of Canada is named for a mistake? How about "bedswerver," the best Elizabethan insult to hurl at a cheating boyfriend? By exploring the delightful back stories of the 250 words in Wordcatcher, readers are lured by language and entangled in etymologies. Author Phil Cousineau takes us on a tour into the obscure territory of word

Overview

Who knew that the great country of Canada is named for a mistake? How about "bedswerver," the best Elizabethan insult to hurl at a cheating boyfriend? By exploring the delightful back stories of the 250 words in Wordcatcher, readers are lured by language and entangled in etymologies. Author Phil Cousineau takes us on a tour into the obscure territory of word origins with great erudition and endearing curiosity. The English poet W. H. Auden was once asked to teach a poetry class, and when 200 students applied to study with him, he only had room for 20 of them. When asked how he chose his students, he said he picked the ones who actually loved words. So too, with this book — it takes a special wordcatcher to create a treasure chest of remarkable words and their origins, and any word lover will relish the stories that Cousineau has discovered.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"If you are a writer, wordsmither or even just a wannabe, this book is an awe-inspiring reference to guide you through those scary moments of finding just the right word to woo your readers and show-off your knowledge panache." —Portland Book Review

"Cousineau takes us into the obscure territory of word origins with great erudition and endearing curiosity." —Writer's Journal

“Phil Cousineau is a word wizard and his book, Wordcatcher, is a delightful adventure into a magical world. As I read his amazing etymological explanations of words from eldritch to floccinaucinihilipilification to lagniappe, I begin to understand why the Bible says ‘In the beginning was the Word.’ Phil has made clear that words don’t merely describe reality. They create it.” —Deepak Chopra, author of The Ultimate Happiness Prescription

“Stake out a claim next to the standard dictionary you use for this less pedantic companion. It contains fewer words but sends up Fourth of July skyrockets on all of them. But caveat emptor, readers beware! Cousineau’s love affair with words is contagious and you are likely to end up lovesick with words yourself.” —Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions and Tales of Wonder

"A book that allows us to remember the genius of language-- to see, feel and, it seems, even "taste" the living-ness and poetry hidden within these many common and uncommon words. A delicious book." --Jacob Needleman, author of What Is God?

"I am awed by Phil Cousineau's scholarship and the overall view he has of inner matters. He has a genius for the soulful dimensions of words, and a rare intelligence for communicating the numinous dimension of language. "Wordcatcher" will grace the lives of all who read it, and inspire them to respect, even revere words as much as its author does." —Robert A. Johnson, author of He, She, and A Slender Thread

"Phil Cousineau’s Wordcatcher is a wonderful meditation on words that can be read from beginning to end if you are obsessed with speech, greedy for mountain air, and into enlightened verbal play. Not a dry lexical listing, each word Cousineau chooses sings with cellos, vagabonds through tongues and history, and bounces like a balloon on the moon, and as high as his quirky imagination takes us. Compelled reading for residence in the ancient synagogue of the word." --Willis Barnstone, author of the Restored New Testament and Ancient Greek Lyrics

"Wordcatcher stirs up...the delight that comes with finding the unexpected embedded within the familiar" --ForeWord Reviews

"All throughout my delightful role as Watson to Cousineau's Holmes (with great panache, of course), I felt the passion, the anticipation of joy and the rhapsody of the chase as I discovered the oftentimes secret origins and meanings of the most bewildering, the most astonishing, the most completely absurd, and even the most sardonic and contemptuous of words, and, finally, the wise and witty." --Christina Forsythe, Fresno Book Review

"Whether an unabashed wordnerd or a casual reader, a dictionary hound or someone looking to expand your own personal lexicon, there is plenty to interest you in Wordcatcher." --Glenn Dallas, Sacramento Book Review

"[Cousineau] is continually pushing the envelope in finding interesting topics to scrutinize" --Helene Vachet, New Perspectives Magazine

"Stake out a claim next to the standard dictionary you use for this less pedantic companion. It contains fewer words but sends up Fourth of July skyrockets on all of them. But caveat emptor, readers beware! Cousineau's love affair with words is contagious and you are likely to end up lovesick with words yourself" --Huston Smith

"Wordcatcher allows us to remember the genius of language--to see, feel and, it seems, even "taste" the living-ness and poetry hidden within these many common and uncommon words. A delicious book." --Jacob Needleman

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781573444002
Publisher:
Viva Editions
Publication date:
04/13/2010
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
556,234
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Phil Cousineau is an award-winning writer and filmmaker, teacher and editor, independent scholar and travel leader, storyteller and TV host. His fascination with art, literature, and the history of culture has taken him from Michigan to Marrakesh, Iceland to the Amazon, in a worldwide search for what the ancients called the “soul of the world.”

Cousineau lectures frequently on a wide spectrum of topics that reflect his mythic journeys, including mythology, movies, writing, mentorship, beauty, travel, sports and creativity. Currently the host of Link TV’s “Global Spirit” television series, Cousineau has published 26 nonfiction books and has 15 scriptwriting credits to his name. His books have been translated into nine languages.

Born at an army hospital in Columbia, South Carolina, Phil Cousineau grew up just outside of Detroit, once known as "the Paris of the Midwest.” While moonlighting in a steel factory he studied journalism at the University of Detroit. Before turning to writing books and films full-time, Cousineau’s peripatetic career included stints as a sportswriter, playing semi-pro basketball in Europe, harvesting date trees on an Israeli kibbutz, painting 44 Victorian houses in San Francisco, and teaching screenwriting at the American Film Institute.

For the past 25 years he has enjoyed his life-long dream of being a full-time freelance writer, filmmaker and sports coach. An expert on mythology and film and the "hero journey" structure of screenplays, Cousineau consults on writing projects of all kinds.

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