The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language
What is the actual connection between disgruntled and gruntled? What links church organs to organised crime, California to the Caliphate, or brackets to codpieces? The Etymologicon springs from Mark Forsyth's Inky Fool blog on the strange connections between words. It's an occasionally ribald, frequently witty and unerringly erudite guided tour of the secret labyrinth that lurks beneath the English language, taking in monks and monkeys, film buffs and buffaloes, and explaining precisely what the Rolling Stones have to do with gardening.
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One of my favourite books. When I was first looking to read more about etymology I stumbled across this book on Amazon. It is the kind of book that anyone could read and love, even if they had no interest in words or language. It's funny and charming and easy to read.
I cannot speak for the book in general, but there are one or two sections about which I can speak with some authority. The entry describing how the military "tank" acquired its name is, I'm sorry to say, rubbish. Only a small item, but if it can be so badly wrong it does shake one's confidence in the rest of the book.