The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language (Paperback)
  • The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language (Paperback)

The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language (Paperback)

Paperback 256 Pages
Published: 03/11/2016
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'Witty and erudite ... stuffed with the kind of arcane information that nobody strictly needs to know, but which is a pleasure to learn nonetheless.' Nick Duerden, Independent.

'Particularly good ... Forsyth takes words and draws us into their, and our, murky history.' William Leith, Evening Standard.

The Etymologicon is an occasionally ribald, frequently witty and unerringly erudite guided tour of the secret labyrinth that lurks beneath the English language.

What is the actual connection between disgruntled and gruntled? What links church organs to organised crime, California to the Caliphate, or brackets to codpieces?

Mark Forsyth's riotous celebration of the idiosyncratic and sometimes absurd connections between words is a classic of its kind: a mine of fascinating information and a must-read for word-lovers everywhere.

'Highly recommended' Spectator

Publisher: Icon Books
ISBN: 9781785781704
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 237 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 20 mm


[Forsyth] riff[s] very entertainingly on the hidden connections of words (from brackets and codpieces, to cappuccinos and monkeys). - Robert McCrum, The Guardian

I'm hooked on Forsyth's book - Crikey, but this is addictive. - Mathew Parris, The Times

Kudos should go to Mark Forsyth, author of The Etymologicon - Clearly a man who knows his onions, Mr Forsyth must have worked 19 to the dozen, spotting red herrings and unravelling inkhorn terms, to bestow this boon - a work of the first water, to coin a phrase. - The Daily Telegraph

This year's must-have stocking filler - the angel on the top of the tree, the satsuma in the sock, the threepenny bit in the plum pudding, the essential addition to the library in the smallest room is Mark Forsyth's The Etymologicon. - Ian Sansom, The Guardian

The stocking filler of the season. - Robert McCrum, The Observer

Witty and erudite ... stuffed with the kind of arcane information that nobody strictly needs to know, but which is a pleasure to learn nonetheless. - Nick Duerden, Independent

This witty book liberates etymology from the dusty pages of the dictionary and brings it alive. - Good Book Guide

'The Etymologicon' contains fascinating facts - Daily Mail

From Nazis and film buffs to heckling and humble pie, the obscure origins of commonly-used words and phrases are explained. - Daily Telegraph

A collection of verbal curiosities ... fascinating. - Spectator

A perfect bit of stocking filler for the bookish member of the family, or just a cracking all-year-round read. Highly recommended. - Spectator

Light, entertaining and fascinating ... This is really one of those books where you have to fight hard to resist telling anyone in earshot little snippets every five minutes. - Brian Clegg

An absolute gem ... a pleasure to read. - Books Monthly

I want this book to be never-ending ... a real winner. - Books Monthly

It makes for a very good read ... a perfect Christmas gift for anyone who might be interested in where our words come from. - A Common Reader

I adored this book. I read and read and then I read some more until it was all gone. It was just my cup of tea, well presented, engaging, witty, wonderful. Full of usable facts and great anecdotes, it's one of the only 'history' books I've read this year that was anything other than dull as dishwater. Full marks. - The Bookbag

Mark Forsyth, who blogs as 'The Inky Fool,' is an extreme and hugely entertaining practitioner. - Financial Times

The subtitle ... 'A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language' ... is a misdescription. It is not a stroll; it is a plunge on a toboggan where the only way to stop is to fall off. - Financial Times

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“Entertaining, erudite educational”

A wonderfully surprising tour of the English language. Irreverent but intelligent, well-thought out and with plenty of suprises. Perfect for dipping in and out of.

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 104

“A fun, but very informative read”

This little book was on my (mental) "to purchase" list, but somehow I lost track of it. Until a few weeks ago. It must have been a sign, hahaha.

The Etymologicon offers a very nice, entertaining, and witty... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 90


This is an brilliant book and very cleverly put together. It has had me laughing out loud many times. If you like words, their origins and how have they have changed over time, you'll love this book. It is very... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 53

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