The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins (Facts on File Writer's Library)

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9780816059928: The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins (Facts on File Writer's Library)
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Explains the origins of thousands of words, proverbs, idioms, foreign language expressions, animal and plant names, and nicknames.

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About the Author:

Robert Hendrickson is the author of more than 25 books, including The Facts On File Dictionary of American Regionalisms for Facts On File. He lives in Peconic, New York.

From Booklist:

This, the third edition of the Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, continues to couple etymology with humor, as did the previous editions, in 1987 and 1997. It contains 30 percent more new material and has more than 12,500 entries (3,500 of which are new). Not only has the author added more entries but he has also lengthened and expanded older ones. Hendrickson has much experience with linguistic reference works and has written Whistlin' Dixie: A Dictionary of Southern Expressions (Facts On File, 1993) and American Talk: The Words and Ways of American Dialects (Viking, 1986).

The entries in the encyclopedia range in length from one line for Man to almost an entire page for dutch (including expressions such as Dutch courage, Dutch door, and Dutch treat). The work contains an alphabetical index, consisting mostly of individuals' names, and entries have see and see also references. As noted in our review for the previous edition, though the author claims to record the "living language of the day," he is still often behind the times. For instance, although Axis of evil has been added, other new entries in this edition include the already widely used term make love and the line Make him an offer he can't refuse from The Godfather. When it comes to technology, Hendrickson is also behind the times, as evidenced by the fact that he has no entry for something as pervasive in today's world as e-mail.

RBB's previous recommendation stands--this title is recommended for those with an avid, though not scholarly, interest in etymology. High-school, undergraduate, and public libraries that have the previous editions may want to update them. Libraries that own other standard titles such as Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (HarperCollins, 16th ed., 1999), Chambers Dictionary of Etymology (1999), and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology (1993) and have limited funds may forgo this one. RBB
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