500 Years of New Words

500 Years of New Words

500 Years of New Words

500 Years of New Words

Synopsis

500 Years of New Words takes you on an exciting journey through the English language from the days before Shakespeare to the first decade of the 21st century. All the main entries are arranged not alphabetically by in chronological order based on the earliest known year that each word was printed or written down.

Beginning with "America" in 1507 and spanning the centuries to "Marsiphobiphiliac" in 2004 (a person who would love to go to Mars but is afraid of being marooned there), this book can be opened at any page and the reader will discover a dazzling array of linguistic delights. In other words, this book is unputdownable (the main entry for 1947). If Shakespeare were alive today, he would buy this book.

Excerpt

Bill Sherk and I share a mutual affliction. We are both incurable logophiles. In my case, this affliction carried me in the direction of what are generally known as the Dead Languages, Greek and Latin (I will grant that they are dead if others will grant that they remain remarkably vital). By contrast, Bill, a neighbour of mine in North Toronto, has discovered the rewards to be had in creating brand new words. If you haven’t yet read Bill’s splendid Brave New Words or its sequel More Brave New Words — in which you will be exposed to such creative neologisms as “accident-dent-dent-dent” (a chain-reaction car crash) or “parsipetrolambulist” (a person who walks in order to conserve gasoline) — you really should hunt up these volumes wherever they are to be found and settle back for a truly satisfying read. And while you’re at it, try to find the books in which Bill indulges his second great love — his long-standing passion for old cars: The Way We Drove: Toronto’s Love Affair with the Automobile, 1893–1957 and 60 Years Behind the Wheel: The Cars We Drove in Canada, 1900–1960. In the present volume, which is a welcome update of an earlier edition, Bill has had the inspired idea of arranging new words chronologically over the past five centuries. He thus, in one swell foop, gives us both an insight into the origins of words and also an appreciation of the times that produced them. Never has history (Bill’s academic discipline) been so painless or so illuminating. Open this book and open your mind to a reading and learning experience that will leave you richly satisfied and greatly entertained.
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