Word Origins

By John Ayto

The typical modern English speaker is aware 50,000 phrases. but stripped right down to its origins, this it appears large vocabulary is actually a lot smaller, derived from Latin, French and the Germanic languages. it really is envisioned that each yr, 800 neologisms are additional to the English language: acronyms (nimby), mixed phrases (motel), and people taken from international languages (savoir-faire). specified by an A-Z structure with precise pass references, and written in a method that's either authoritative and obtainable, be aware Origins is a worthwhile ancient advisor to the English language.

Show description

Preview of Word Origins PDF

Similar English Language books

Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling

Whilst did ghost collect its silent h? Will our on-line world kill the single in rhubarb? And was once it quite rocket scientists who invented spell-check? In Righting the mum Tongue, writer David Wolman tells the cockamamie tale of English spelling, when it comes to a wordly experience from English battlefields to Google headquarters.

Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening

Diana Butler Bass, one in every of modern Christianity’s top trend-spotters, exposes how the issues of the church this day are giving upward push to a brand new “spiritual yet no longer non secular” flow. utilizing proof from the newest nationwide polls and from her personal state of the art study, Bass, the visionary writer of A People’s background of Christianity, maintains the dialog all started in books like Brian D.

Elizabeth Is Missing: A Novel

During this darkly riveting debut novel—a subtle mental secret that also is an heartbreakingly sincere meditation on reminiscence, identification, and aging—an aged girl descending into dementia embarks on a determined quest to discover the easiest good friend she believes has disappeared, and her look for the reality will return many years and feature shattering results.

The Oxford-Duden Pictorial English Dictionary (Oxford Paperback Reference)

With 28,000 entries, this is often the authoritative reference for somebody who desires to recognize what whatever seems like in addition to what it truly is known as. less than normal different types akin to "man and his social environment," "entertainment, tradition and art," and "atom, universe and earth," 384 plates position items in context.

Additional info for Word Origins

Show sample text content

Yet as confusion started to come up among the 2 elements amber and ambergris, amber got here for use for either in all of the languages that had borrowed it from Arabic, therefore compounding the bewilderment. The French resolution used to be to distinguish ambergris as ambre gris, actually ‘grey amber’, and this ultimately grew to become the normal English time period. (Later on, the contrastive time period ambre jaune ‘yellow amber’ was once coined for ‘amber’ in French. ) Uncertainty over the identification of the second one aspect, -gris, has resulted in a few fanciful reformulations of the be aware. within the seventeenth century, many folks idea ambergris got here from Greece – for that reason spellings similar to amber-degrece and amber-greece. And until eventually relatively lately its a little greasy consistency inspired the spelling ambergrease. ‘ AMBER ambidextrous ambidextrous [16] Ambidextrous ability actually ‘right-handed on either sides’. It used to be shaped in Latin from the prefix ambi- ‘both’ and the adjective dexter ‘right-handed’ (source of English dextrous). Ambi- corresponds to the Latin adjective ambo ‘both’, which derived finally from the Indo-European base *amb‘around’ (an aspect within the resource of ambassador and embassy). the second one point in Latin ambo turns out to correspond to outdated English ba ‘both’, that is on the topic of sleek English either. WordOrigins. fm web page 22 Thursday, August eleven, 2005 1:58 PM ambiguous 22 different English phrases shaped with the prefix amb(i)- comprise ambient [16] (which got here, like ambition, from Latin ambīre ‘go round’), ambit [16] (from Latin ambitus ‘circuit’), ambiguous, ambition, amble, and ambulance. recorded time period for this kind of army sanatorium in French used to be the 17th-century hôpital ambulatoire. This was once later changed by way of hôpital ambulant, actually ‘walking hospital’, and eventually, on the finish of the 18th century, through ambulance. this feeling of the be aware had died out by way of the past due nineteenth century, yet already its attributive use, in words corresponding to ambulance cart and ambulance wagon, had ended in its getting used for a automobile for sporting the wounded or ill. ‘ DEXTROUS ambiguous [16] Ambiguous consists of the ambiguous etymological idea of ‘wandering round uncertainly’. It comes finally from the Latin compound verb ambigere, which used to be shaped from the prefix ambi- (as in AMBIDEXTROUS) and the verb agere ‘drive, lead’ (a prodigious resource of English phrases, together with act and agent). From the verb was once derived the adjective ambiguus, which used to be borrowed without delay into English. the 1st to take advantage of it sort of feels to were Sir Thomas extra: ‘if it have been now uncertain and ambiguous no matter if the church of Christ have been within the correct rule of doctrine or now not’ A discussion relating heresies 1528. ‘ ACID, ALACRITY, AMBLE, PERAMBULATOR ambush ambush [14] initially, ambush intended actually ‘put in a bush’ – or extra accurately ‘hide in a wooden, from the place you could make a shock attack’. The hypothetical Vulgar Latin verb *imboscāre used to be shaped from the prefix in- and the noun *boscus ‘bush, thicket’ (a notice of Germanic beginning, regarding English bush).

Download PDF sample

Rated 4.11 of 5 – based on 6 votes