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The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language

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This was because virtually the only use of the word in the modern world was associated with the phrase ‘smile, you’re on candid camera’ and the main fact about being on candid camera was the reveal at the end, when it was made clear that there was a hidden camera filming you. Apart from the health warning that this book will inhibit your ability to have normal conversations, The Etymologicon is quite a delightful read.

I should point out that I always save all my money for a rainy day, but I live in England, so my savings don't last long. Assassin" is related to the word "hashish", in reference to a medieval cult of hitmen so proficient and determined that everyone assumed they were all on dope.

In it, he notes "There are few pastimes in life as pleasurable and profitable as reading the dictionary. However, I had a good excuse and that was that this book was mainly about words and how they traveled from a far away past all the way to our present.

Greek lexical encyclopedia compiled at Constantinople around 1150 AD Page from a 14th-century MS that Gaisford used for his 1848 edition. If I had to describe The Etymologicon in one sentence, I'd probably say it's an etymological stream of consciousness that, as promised, goes full circle and leaves you smiling from ear to ear. So just as rich bored Londoners can suddenly get really keen on some ancient Tibetan practice as a bit of a fad, so the rich bored Roman could bore everybody at the dinner party about how he had taken up resting on the seventh day, and it had really grounded him, and you should try it yourself, because those Jews are just so, so ancient. Every muscle is just a little mouse, because that’s what the Romans thought your bicep looked like, a little mouse running around under your skin.

Sometimes, the origin of a word is obvious the moment that you think of: if something is familiar, it’s like family. And furthermore: "testifying" may actually refer to putting your hand on your own (or someone else's) testicles, to ensure - I don't know - that you have a dudely, and therefore truthful, disposition? The New York firefighters are, obviously, heroes to the New Yorkers; but they were even more idolised back in the late 19th century. An epic history can lie behind some terribly mundane word that you use every day and never thought twice about.

Just occasionally I lost interest a tad, but it quickly picked up again and the flowing structure of little chapters meant that it's easy to just read one more. That’s why if you go to the gym a little too much and end up looking muscular and bursting with health, you look really buff. Ut" was later changed to "do", for "domine", because it sounds ridiculous to hold a note singing "uuuuuuuuhhhhhtttt".This blog post will not answer the great question as to whether extraterrestrial life visits earth, because, though I know the answer, I'm not telling. The English used to use the word alcatras, largely because pelicans aren't native to Britain so we might as well use the Spanish word.

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