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Synopsis: Comic, skeptic, cyber-sleuth, syndicated columnist, and inspired wordsmith, Evan Morris is the Word Detective. He's an etymologist with a sense of humor, a lexicographer with an attitude. Morris's unique approach to language and his distinctive brand of absurdity have found a loyal following of readers curious about everything from soup to nuts--and that means the origins of the phrase soup to nuts, and thousands more words and phrases. This book is a collection of 150 of Morris's language columns, which appear in newspapers throughout the country and on his popular Web site.
A clueless husband writes the WORD DETECTIVE to ask if his wife has insulted him by calling him gormless. Coworkers write to settle a watercooler dispute about the logic of feed a cold, starve a fever. The Word Detective snoops around, follows the leads, and uncovers the answers. The book is chock-full of fascinating lore about the origins and uses of the English language and includes special sections exploring groups of words such as euphemisms, eponyms, and onomatopoeic forms. Funny and offbeat, clever and curmudgeonly, irreverent and irritable, this detective is for all of us who appreciate a dash of wit with our words.
Review: Who needs Sherlock Holmes when you've got a word detective? Evan Morris, whose Web site and syndicated column solve more mysteries than even Scotland Yard could manage, has assembled a book of entertaining questions and answers that will amuse, educate, and resolve arguments all at once. From "amok" to "zarf", the definitions and origins of words are explained with a delightful combination of wit and research that will leave curious readers delighted.
Each entry begins with the original question asked of Morris, complete with the writer's misspellings and misinformation, and a few of these may result in cringes from the serious wordsmiths out there. One query incorrectly remembers the metaphor "hair of the dog that bit you" as "Something like bite the dog's tail or the dog that bit you last night," and Morris makes plenty of entertaining suggestions regarding these incorrect versions before finally explaining that the phrase have been around since about 1546, and specifically refers to a hangover remedy. The author is in especially fine form while explaining the phrase "passing the bar"--who knew that it dates back to a requirement that lawyers wrestle a grizzly "bar" before entering into practice? The correct explanation follows Morris's whimsical tale, but 16th-century England just doesn't have quite the same entertainment value. Several special sections cover larger topics, such as food- and animal-based phrases (easy as pie, dog days), onomatopoeia, euphemisms, diner slang, and Yiddish expressions. While not as detailed as the alphabetical entries, words like "wreck", "mensch," and "throb" are given satisfying, if short, descriptions. --Jill Lightner
Title: The Word Detective
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: 2000
Book Condition: Used: Good
Book Description Workman Publishing, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Very Good condition with no significant faults. Clearly used but very few minor defects. Will look good on your book case after reading but may not be suitable as a present unless hard to find elsewhere SECURE DAILY POSTING FROM UK. 30 DAY GUARANTEE. Bookseller Inventory # mon0002156560
Book Description -. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. The Word Detective: Solving the Mysteries behind Those Pesky Phrases This book is in very good condition and will be shipped within 24 hours of ordering. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. This book has clearly been well maintained and looked after thus far. Money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. See all our books here, order more than 1 book and get discounted shipping. Bookseller Inventory # 7719-9781565122390
Book Description Algonquin Books, 2000. Book Condition: Good. 1st Edition. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP3032062
Book Description Algonquin Books, 2000. Book Condition: Good. 1st Edition. Ships from Reno, NV. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP95837390
Book Description Algonquin Books. Hardcover. Book Condition: VERY GOOD. Cover and pages show some wear from reading and storage. May have creases on the cover and binding caused from handling and reading. Some pages may contain writing and or highlighting. Bookseller Inventory # 2763017167
Book Description Algonquin Books. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. Good clean copy with no missing pages might be an ex library copy; Possibly may have minor marginal notes and or highlighting. Bookseller Inventory # 2764548788
Book Description Algonquin Books, 2000. Book Condition: Good. 1st Edition. Ships from the UK. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP95639809
Book Description Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Book shows a small amount of wear to cover and binding. Some pages show signs of use. Bookseller Inventory # G1565122399I3N00
Book Description Algonquin Books. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Book has a small amount of wear visible on the binding, cover, pages. Bookseller Inventory # G1565122399I3N00
Book Description Algonquin Books. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Book has some visible wear on the binding, cover, pages. Bookseller Inventory # G1565122399I3N00