The Word Detective

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Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2000 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 228 pages
4 Reviews
Comic, skeptic, cyber-sleuth, syndicated columnist, and inspired wordsmith, Evan Morris is the Word Detective. He's an etymologist with a sense of humor, a lexicographer with an attitude. Morris's unique approach to language and his distinctive brand of absurdity have found a loyal following of readers curious about everything from soup to nuts--and that means the origins of the phrase soup to nuts, and thousands more words and phrases. This book is a collection of 150 of Morris's language columns, which appear in newspapers throughout the country and on his popular Web site.

A clueless husband writes the WORD DETECTIVE to ask if his wife has insulted him by calling him gormless. Coworkers write to settle a watercooler dispute about the logic of feed a cold, starve a fever. The Word Detective snoops around, follows the leads, and uncovers the answers. The book is chock-full of fascinating lore about the origins and uses of the English language and includes special sections exploring groups of words such as euphemisms, eponyms, and onomatopoeic forms. Funny and offbeat, clever and curmudgeonly, irreverent and irritable, this detective is for all of us who appreciate a dash of wit with our words.

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User Review  - KarenIrelandPhillips - LibraryThing

It's a bit snarky for me. Humorous compendium of faux questions/answers about the origin of words. Read full review

Review: The Word Detective: Solving the Mysteries Behind Those Pesky Words and Phrases

User Review  - Rachel Rogers - Goodreads

Don't feel I can rate this 1 star because I barely got 1/4 into it. The author's voice was so annoying that I couldn't continue. His sarcasm and self-gratifying humor at the beginning of each entry ... Read full review


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About the author (2000)

Evan Morris divides his time between a rambling old farmhouse in rural Ohio and an apartment in New York City. His syndicated column, "The Word Detective," is read all over the U.S. as well as in Mexico and Japan. The award-winning Word Detective web site receives over five thousand hits a week. Evan Morris is the author of The Book Lover's Guide to the Internet.

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