The best 18 Etymology books

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What's Eats, Shoots & Leaves about?

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss is a witty and entertaining book that delves into the world of punctuation. Truss explores the importance of commas, apostrophes, and other marks, and how their misuse can completely change the meaning of a sentence. With humor and insight, she offers practical advice on how to improve your own punctuation skills.

Who should read Eats, Shoots & Leaves?

  • Anyone who wants to improve their writing and communication skills

  • Language enthusiasts and grammar nerds

  • People who enjoy witty and entertaining books about seemingly mundane topics


What's The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology about?

The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology by C.T. Onions is a comprehensive reference work that explores the origins and development of over 38,000 English words. It delves into the history of words, tracing their roots back to different languages and time periods, and provides valuable insights into the evolution of the English language.

Who should read The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology?

  • Language enthusiasts who want to explore the history and evolution of words

  • Writers and editors looking to deepen their understanding of etymology

  • Students and academics studying the English language and its roots


What's Bioscientific Terminology about?

Bioscientific Terminology by Donald M. Ayers is a comprehensive guide to the language of biology and related fields. It delves into the origins and meanings of scientific terms, helping readers understand and use these terms with confidence. Whether you're a student, educator, or simply curious about the world of science, this book is an invaluable resource for unlocking the complexities of bioscientific terminology.

Who should read Bioscientific Terminology?

  • Students or professionals in the fields of biology, medicine, or related sciences

  • Individuals looking to improve their understanding and use of scientific terminology

  • Anyone interested in etymology and the roots of words


What's Semicolon about?

Semicolon by Cecelia Watson is a thought-provoking exploration of the history, usage, and significance of the often-misunderstood punctuation mark. Through engaging anecdotes and insightful analysis, Watson challenges our preconceptions and invites us to reconsider the power of the semicolon in shaping the way we communicate and understand the world.

Who should read Semicolon?

  • Language enthusiasts who want to explore the history and usage of punctuation marks

  • Writers and editors looking to improve their understanding of grammar and punctuation

  • Curious individuals interested in the intersection of language, culture, and communication


What's Placenames of the World about?

Placenames of the World by Adrian Room is a comprehensive reference book that delves into the origins and meanings of various place names around the globe. From cities and towns to rivers and mountains, this book uncovers the fascinating stories behind the names we encounter in our everyday lives. It offers a deeper understanding of the rich history and cultural significance attached to these geographical locations.

Who should read Placenames of the World?

  • Geography enthusiasts who want to learn more about the history and culture behind place names

  • Travelers looking to deepen their understanding of the destinations they visit

  • Language and etymology enthusiasts interested in the evolution of words and their meanings


What's The Adventure of English about?

The Adventure of English by Melvyn Bragg explores the fascinating journey of the English language from its humble beginnings to its global dominance today. Through engaging storytelling and insightful analysis, Bragg uncovers the historical, cultural, and social forces that have shaped the development and spread of English. A must-read for language enthusiasts and anyone curious about the evolution of this influential language.

Who should read The Adventure of English?

  • Language enthusiasts and history buffs who want to explore the evolution of the English language

  • Students and educators looking to deepen their understanding of linguistic and cultural influences on English

  • Travelers and expatriates curious about the global impact and diversity of English


What's The New Joys of Yiddish about?

The New Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten is a humorous and informative exploration of the Yiddish language and its unique expressions. Filled with witty anecdotes, proverbs, and explanations of Yiddish words and phrases, this book offers a delightful journey into the rich cultural heritage of the Jewish people.

Who should read The New Joys of Yiddish?

  • Language enthusiasts who want to explore the rich and colorful world of Yiddish

  • People with Jewish heritage who want to connect with their cultural and linguistic roots

  • Readers who enjoy humorous and insightful explorations of language and culture


What's History in English Words about?

History in English Words by Owen Barfield explores the history of the English language and how it reflects the development of human consciousness. Barfield delves into the etymology of words and uncovers their deeper meanings, tracing the evolution of human thought and society. This thought-provoking book offers a unique perspective on language and history.

Who should read History in English Words?

  • Language enthusiasts and etymology lovers who want to explore the history and evolution of English words

  • Students and educators seeking a deeper understanding of the cultural and historical context behind language

  • Readers interested in the interconnectedness of language, thought, and human consciousness


What's The Secret Life of Words about?

The Secret Life of Words by Henry Hitchings delves into the fascinating history and evolution of the English language. From the origins of words to their cultural and social significance, Hitchings uncovers the hidden stories behind the language we use every day. This thought-provoking book offers a unique perspective on the power and beauty of words.

Who should read The Secret Life of Words?

  • Language enthusiasts who want to explore the fascinating history and evolution of words

  • Writers and editors looking to deepen their understanding of the English language

  • Anyone curious about the cultural and social influences that shape our vocabulary


What's Made in America about?

Made in America by Bill Bryson is a fascinating exploration of the history and evolution of the English language in the United States. Through engaging storytelling and meticulous research, Bryson uncovers the origins of American words and phrases, revealing how they reflect the country's unique cultural and historical influences. From the Pilgrims to the present day, this book offers a captivating journey through the linguistic landscape of America.

Who should read Made in America?

  • Language enthusiasts who are curious about the quirks and evolution of American English

  • History buffs interested in the cultural and linguistic influences that shaped the United States

  • Travelers looking to gain a deeper understanding of American society and its idiosyncrasies


What's Motherfoclóir about?

Motherfoclóir by Darach O'Séaghdha explores the quirks and complexities of the Irish language, offering an entertaining and informative journey through its unique words and phrases. With a blend of humor, history, and personal anecdotes, the book sheds light on the richness of Irish linguistic heritage and its place in modern society.

Who should read Motherfoclóir?

  • Language enthusiasts who want to explore the quirks and complexities of the Irish language

  • People with Irish heritage who want to reconnect with their linguistic roots

  • Travelers planning a trip to Ireland and looking to understand and appreciate the local language and culture


What's Scribblers, Sculptors, and Scribes about?

Scribblers, Sculptors, and Scribes by Richard A. LaFleur delves into the world of ancient Rome through its language and literature. This book offers a comprehensive introduction to Latin and explores the works of famous writers such as Cicero, Virgil, and Ovid. Whether you're a student of Latin or simply curious about the ancient language, this book provides an engaging and informative journey into the heart of Roman culture.

Who should read Scribblers, Sculptors, and Scribes?

  • Students of Latin looking to expand their reading skills beyond textbook exercises

  • Teachers seeking authentic and engaging texts to supplement their Latin curriculum

  • Language enthusiasts interested in exploring the rich cultural and historical context of ancient Rome through original Latin writings


What's The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two about?

The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two by Anu Garg is a delightful exploration of the English language and its quirks. Through fascinating anecdotes and word origins, Garg takes readers on a journey to uncover the hidden stories behind everyday words. From the accidental creation of 'dord' to the linguistic influence of avocados, this book is a celebration of the richness and diversity of language.

Who should read The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two?

  • Language enthusiasts and word lovers looking to expand their vocabulary

  • Curious individuals interested in the origins and evolution of words

  • People who enjoy quirky and engaging stories about language and linguistics


What's Between You & Me about?

Between You & Me by Mary Norris is a witty and insightful memoir that delves into the world of grammar, language, and the art of copyediting. With humor and charm, Norris shares her experiences at The New Yorker and offers valuable tips on writing and punctuation. Whether you're a language enthusiast or just curious about the intricacies of the English language, this book is a delightful read.

Who should read Between You & Me?

  • Language enthusiasts who enjoy exploring the intricacies of grammar and punctuation

  • Writers, editors, and anyone involved in the world of publishing

  • People who appreciate a humorous and personal approach to discussing language and communication


What's The Etymologicon about?

The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth is a fascinating exploration of the origins of words and phrases in the English language. With wit and humor, the book uncovers the hidden connections between seemingly unrelated terms, taking readers on a journey through etymology. From the quirks of everyday language to the surprising history behind familiar expressions, this book offers a delightful and informative look at the evolution of the words we use.

Who should read The Etymologicon?

  • Language enthusiasts who enjoy exploring the origins and connections of words

  • Curious individuals who want to deepen their understanding of the English language

  • Readers who appreciate a humorous and entertaining approach to etymology


What's Word Origins about?

Word Origins by John Ayto is a fascinating exploration of the history and development of the English language. From the earliest words traced back to their ancient roots to the influences of other languages and cultures, this book delves into the origins of the words we use every day. It offers insight into the rich tapestry of the English language and how it has evolved over time.

Who should read Word Origins?

  • Language enthusiasts who are curious about the origins of words

  • Students and educators looking to expand their vocabulary and understanding of etymology

  • Writers and communicators who want to enhance their linguistic skills and creativity


What's Dictionary of Word Origins about?

Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto delves into the fascinating history of the English language, tracing the origins of over 8,000 words. From everyday terms to obscure vocabulary, this book uncovers the surprising and often colorful stories behind the words we use. It is a must-read for anyone curious about etymology and the evolution of language.

Who should read Dictionary of Word Origins?

  • Language enthusiasts who want to deepen their understanding of the origins of words

  • Writers and editors looking to enhance their vocabulary and word choice

  • Students and educators seeking a comprehensive resource for etymology and linguistic history


What's Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue about?

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue by John McWhorter is a thought-provoking exploration of the English language. Delving into its complex history and the influences that have shaped it, the book challenges conventional wisdom and offers new insights into why English is the way it is. McWhorter's engaging writing style makes this a fascinating read for anyone interested in language and linguistics.

Who should read Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue?

  • Language enthusiasts who want to explore the quirks and complexities of English

  • History buffs curious about the origins and evolution of the English language

  • People interested in how language shapes and reflects cultural identity


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Etymology Books
 FAQs 

What's the best Etymology book to read?

While choosing just one book about a topic is always tough, many people regard Eats, Shoots & Leaves as the ultimate read on Etymology.

What are the Top 10 Etymology books?

Blinkist curators have picked the following:

    Who are the top Etymology book authors?

    When it comes to Etymology, these are the authors who stand out as some of the most influential: