The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth

Posted January 10, 2018 in Book Review / 0 Comments

The Etymologicon by Mark ForsythThe Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language by Mark Forsyth
Published by Berkley on October 2nd 2012
Genres: Nonfiction, Linguistics
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
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Do you know why…

…a mortgage is literally a death pledge? …why guns have girls’ names? …why salt is related to soldier?

You’re about to find out…

The Etymologicon (e-t?-‘mä-lä-ji-kän) is: *Witty (wi-te): Full of clever humor*Erudite (er-?-dit): Showing knowledge

*Ribald (ri-b?ld): Crude, offensive

The Etymologicon is a completely unauthorized guide to the strange underpinnings of the English language. It explains: how you get from “gruntled” to “disgruntled”; why you are absolutely right to believe that your meager salary barely covers “money for salt”; how the biggest chain of coffee shops in the world (hint: Seattle) connects to whaling in Nantucket; and what precisely the Rolling Stones have to do with gardening.

Main points


This book is amazing. It’s super interesting, and the fact that every single etymological fact connects is really neat. I could listen to this guy for hours. There are so many fun facts about stuff we use every day. Just the other day as I was looking at my computer, I was wondering where Bluetooth came from, and last night I had my answer from the book. What’s funny is that he wrote the book so that when he was discussing etymology with people, he wouldn’t feel the need to trap them in conversation because each word would remind him of another word and its etymology and then he would go on and on…so he put all that into a book, this one. But now I feel the need to do the same. It’s going to be hard to resist going around to people and spitting out fun facts from this book just nonstop. Every fact in this book is fun. It’s written really well, too—it’s funny, in a definitely British way. I want to read more by this author. It was a true disappointment when the book was over.

  reaction upon finishing

No I want more!

this book in one word


About Mark Forsyth

Mark Forsyth is a writer, journalist and blogger. Every job he’s ever had, whether as a ghost-writer or proof-reader or copy-writer, has been to do with words. He started The Inky Fool blog in 2009 and now writes a post almost every day. The blog has received worldwide attention and enjoys an average of 4,000 hits per week.

Mr. Forsyth currently resides in London.



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