Semantic Antics: How and Why Words Change Meaning
"My favorite popular word book of the year"
-William Safire, NY Times 6/22/2008
A fun, new approach to examining etymology!
Many common English words started out with an entirely different meaning than the one we know today. For example:
The word adamant came into English around 855 C.E. as a synonym for 'diamond,' very different from today's meaning of the word: "utterly unyielding in attitude or opinion."
Before the year 1200, the word silly meant "blessed," and was derived from Old English saelig, meaning "happy." This word went through several incarnations before adopting today's meaning: "stupid or foolish."
In Semantic Antics, lexicographer Sol Steinmetz takes readers on an in-depth, fascinating journey to learn how hundreds of words have evolved from their first meaning to the meanings used today.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Semantic AnticsUser Review - buyerfromdc - Overstock.com
Great new book for those that love words. Overstock offered a great price on this book hot off the presses. Came quickly and as described. Would definitely recommend Overstock and this book. Read full review
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adjective American applied B,b C,c D,d Bible borrowed from French borrowed from Latin borrowed from Middle borrowed from Old C,c D,d E.e called Canterbury Tales Chaucer chieﬂy cloth current meaning D,d E.e F-f deﬁned deﬁnition derived developed from Old Dictionary E.e F-f H,h earliest meaning early English language especially F-f H,h l.i F,_f ﬁgurative meaning ﬁgure ﬁrst appeared ﬁrst found ﬁrst recorded Greek H,h l,i K,k humor inﬂuenced John John Dryden language Late Latin meaning was extended meant originally Medieval Latin Middle Dutch Middle English Middle French noun novel ofthe Old English Old French Old Frisian Old High German Old Norse P,p R.r S,s pejorative person phrase poem poet prayers R,r S,s referring S,s T,r U,u Shakespeare source of English speciﬁcally spelled term things Thomas tion verb vulgar Vulgar Latin William Caxton word was borrowed word's words meaning writing wrote zany