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Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends

de David Wilton

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320562,038 (3.59)10
Do you "know" that posh comes from an acronym meaning "port out, starboard home"? That "the whole nine yards" comes from (pick one) the length of a WWII gunner's belt; the amount of fabric needed to make a kilt; a sarcastic football expression? That Chicago is called "The Windy City" becauseof the bloviating habits of its politicians, and not the breeze off the lake?If so, you need this book. David Wilton debunks the most persistently wrong word histories, and gives, to the best of our actual knowledge, the real stories behind these perennially mis-etymologized words.In addition, he explains why these wrong stories are created, disseminated, and persist, even after being corrected time and time again. What makes us cling to these stories, when the truth behind these words and phrases is available, for the most part, at any library or on the Internet?Arranged by chapters, this book avoids a dry A-Z format. Chapters separate misetymologies by kind, including The Perils of Political Correctness (picnics have nothing to do with lynchings), Posh, Phat Pommies (the problems of bacronyming--the desire to make every word into an acronym), and CANOE(which stands for the Conspiracy to Attribute Nautical Origins to Everything).Word Myths corrects long-held and far-flung examples of wrong etymologies, without taking the fun out of etymology itself. It's the best of both worlds: not only do you learn the many wrong stories behind these words, you also learn why and how they are created--and what the real story is.… (mais)
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Exibindo 5 de 5
This book discusses urban myths about English word etymologies. While entertaining, I found , even for the urban legends I would have never believed, the legend so much more interesting than the actual etymology that I was worried I wouldn't remember the actual origin of the word. I guess that's what makes them spread so well even though untrue. ( )
  aulsmith | Sep 6, 2013 |
I kept this book for a while, hoping to be able to read it before sending it on.
I did not have the time for it yet and I will not be able to read it anytime soon. So, to fulfill the last part of my 1001-RABCK for Vasha, this book is going on to the next reader.
  BoekenTrol71 | Mar 31, 2013 |
David Wilton takes on the sacred cows of word or phrase origins (such as "Ring Around the Rosie" and "The Windy City") and provides their actual provenance and/or etymology. Naturally, there are some words and phrases that can't be traced to their origins: for these, Wilton shows us how the myth cannot be true. His breezy, light touch is just the right style for this sort of work. He's humorous without being petty, and informative without being pedantic. A fun read.
  avanta7 | Apr 26, 2009 |
This book aims to examine urban myths surrounding word origins, phrases, and commonly held misperceptions about words. Included: how many words for snow to Eskimos really have, "OK," and whether or not picnics are racist. Wilton does an excellent job of presenting the stories and why the stories started, and then ripping the stories to shreds. He also includes his research methods, which is a nice addition. Unlike most books like this, the words and phrases are organized based on a theme, not in alphabetical order.
Entertaining read for armchair linguists. ( )
  kaelirenee | Jul 1, 2008 |
Urban legends for the entymologist. In some ways its kind of depressing to learn that those cute little stories you always heard were false but you get to learn new ones. ( )
  rampaginglibrarian | Jul 3, 2006 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
David Wiltonautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Brunetti, IvanIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Demirel, SelçukArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Do you "know" that posh comes from an acronym meaning "port out, starboard home"? That "the whole nine yards" comes from (pick one) the length of a WWII gunner's belt; the amount of fabric needed to make a kilt; a sarcastic football expression? That Chicago is called "The Windy City" becauseof the bloviating habits of its politicians, and not the breeze off the lake?If so, you need this book. David Wilton debunks the most persistently wrong word histories, and gives, to the best of our actual knowledge, the real stories behind these perennially mis-etymologized words.In addition, he explains why these wrong stories are created, disseminated, and persist, even after being corrected time and time again. What makes us cling to these stories, when the truth behind these words and phrases is available, for the most part, at any library or on the Internet?Arranged by chapters, this book avoids a dry A-Z format. Chapters separate misetymologies by kind, including The Perils of Political Correctness (picnics have nothing to do with lynchings), Posh, Phat Pommies (the problems of bacronyming--the desire to make every word into an acronym), and CANOE(which stands for the Conspiracy to Attribute Nautical Origins to Everything).Word Myths corrects long-held and far-flung examples of wrong etymologies, without taking the fun out of etymology itself. It's the best of both worlds: not only do you learn the many wrong stories behind these words, you also learn why and how they are created--and what the real story is.

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