Dubious Doublets: A Delightful Compendium of Unlikely Word Pairs of Common Origin, from Aardvark/Porcelain to Zodiac/Whiskey

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Wiley, Mar 17, 2003 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 206 pages
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Take an enchanting tour through the tangled roots of English

Quick, what is the common denominator of the following words: onion, twinkle, travel, squad, foist, semester, October, noon, and dicker? By the time you finish reading Dubious Doublets, the answer will be as obvious to you as the relationship between lettuce and galaxy, nostril and thrill, or witch and vegetable!

This surprising, enlightening, and entertaining guide uses a delightfully innovative approach to explore the evolution, lineage, and proliferation of words. Beginning with pairs of seemingly unrelated modern English words–dubious doublets–the author traces them back through the millennia to reveal not only their common roots, but also the living thoughts that form the true links between these improbable pairs.

You’ll discover, for example, why the words flamenco and flamingo are both related to the complexions of the Dutch, how the biblical son of Isaac is related to a French garment and a Halloween decoration, and what going berserk has to do with playing hopscotch. You'll also uncover the common roots of such seemingly incompatible dyads as bully/friar, muscle/mouse, and everyone’s favorite, feather/hippopotamus.

Richly supplemented with cultural anecdotes, literary excerpts, and lively discussions on a broad variety of relevant topics–not to mention a series of whimsical illustrations that offer intriguing clues to word origins–Dubious Doublets is, quite simply, a word buff’s delight.

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Contents

aardvark porcelain
9
alcohol artichoke
35
Contents
48
Copyright

6 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2003)

STEWART EDELSTEIN is a practicing attorney who has studied etymology for more than thirty years, ever since his introduction to the subject as an undergraduate at Oberlin College. Edelstein has published two Op-Ed pieces in the New York Times and teaches a course in trial advocacy at Yale Law School.

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