The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories
Merriam-Webster, 1991 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 526 pages
A gold mine of fascinating word histories! This engaging and informative book reveals the origins of 1,500 words from "abigail" to "zombie", tracing in terms from the mythology of ancient Greece to the comic strips of the 20th century. This delightful volume will help you discover how a skimpy bathing suit came to be called a "bikini" and what "serendipity" has to do with Horace Walpole.
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Common terms and phrases
adjective akin alter American ancient animal appeared applied associated assumed became become began bird body borrowed called character comes common denote derived describe designate developed dialect earlier earliest early England English word especially etymology example extended fact French gave German give given Greek hand head horse influenced Italian Italy John kind King known language late later Latin letter literally living meaning meant Medieval Middle English Middle French Modern English nineteenth century noun Old English Old French origin past person phrase play popular prob probably refer rise Roman seems sense seventeenth century short similar simply sixteenth century sound Spanish spelling story suggested taken term thing tion took translation turn United usually verb writing written
Page 142 - This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune, often the surfeit of our own behaviour, we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars...
Page 37 - twould a saint provoke," (Were the last words that poor Narcissa spoke ;} " No, let a charming chintz and Brussels lace Wrap my cold limbs, and shade my lifeless face : One would not, sure, be frightful when one's dead — And — Betty — give this cheek a little red.
Page 214 - And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
Page 236 - Behold, we know not anything; I can but trust that good shall fall At last— far off— at last, to all, And every winter change to spring. So runs my dream; but what am I? An infant crying in the night; An infant crying for the light, And with no language but a cry.
Page 94 - There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind.
Page 6 - So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of " agnostic." It came into my head as suggestively antithetic to the " gnostic " of Church history, who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant...
Page 105 - We don't want to fight, but by jingo if we do, We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money too.
Page 114 - THE Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea, When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.