The Etymologicon

  • by Mark Forsyth
  • Narrated by Don Hagen
  • 7 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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What the Critics Say

“The stocking filler of the season...how else to describe a book that explains the connection between Dom Perignon and Mein Kampf.” (The Observer)
“Crikey...this is addictive!” (The Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Maddening! Does not work as an audiobook!

I imagine this as the kind of book I'd like to have in the bathroom. Short entries on the origins of words. And I wanted to see the words. See how they are put together. Pay attention to their spelling. Their prefixes. Their suffixes. So much of etymology depends on this. Therefore, it just doesn't work as an audiobook. And while this is a minor point, the author is clearly British. You can tell by many of his references and his overall sense of humor. So why not have a British narrator? There were interesting entries, but as a book (especially an audiobook ) it drove me up the wall.
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- James

One of my all time favorite books.

Would you listen to The Etymologicon again? Why?

I listen to this book over and over as one would do with a favorite song. I love words, and the fabric this book weaves is fantastic.


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- Donna M

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-14-2014
  • Publisher: Gildan Media, LLC