Wordcatcher: An Odyssey into the World of Weird and Wonderful Words
Who knew that the great country of Canada is named for a mistake? How about "bedswerver," the best Elizabethan insult to hurl at a cheating boyfriend? By exploring the delightful back stories of the 250 words in Wordcatcher, readers are lured by language and entangled in etymologies. Author Phil Cousineau takes us on a tour into the obscure territory of word origins with great erudition and endearing curiosity. The English poet W. H. Auden was once asked to teach a poetry class, and when 200 students applied to study with him, he only had room for 20 of them. When asked how he chose his students, he said he picked the ones who actually loved words. So too, with this book — it takes a special wordcatcher to create a treasure chest of remarkable words and their origins, and any word lover will relish the stories that Cousineau has discovered.
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18th century 19th-century American ancient Anglo-Saxon baseball beauty Big Lebowski bird called cant catch caught century colorful comes Companion words include crazy curious dates back defined derives describe dictionary dude duende echo English word Ernie Harwell expression fate favorite fear feeling Fellow words Figuratively flâneur German glamour Greek inspired Irish jazz John Johnson kibosh kite language later Latin lives look lover magic marvelous meaning meant medieval metaphor Middle English Middle French mondegreens movie mythic night obscure Old English Old French Old Norse one’s origins painting person Phil Cousineau phrase play poem poet poetry Proto-Indo-European reading recorded refers Roman roots Roy Blount Jr sailors saudade Scots Scottish sing Skeat slang someone song soul sound speak spirit stars story suggests synonym talk term there’s things tion travelers turn verb wabi-sabi walk weird wonderful Wordcatcher writes wrote zaftig