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Publisher's Summary

A quirky, entertaining and thought-provoking tour of the unexpected connections between words, read by Simon Shepherd. 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.

©2012 Mark Forsyth (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Really and I mean REALLY enjoyed this

I was absolutely hooked through out the book. The fun part was that I just couldn't resist pausing and "sharing" my "word-discoveries" with my husband, my best friend or my colleagues depending who was around

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Fascinating subject might not be for everyone

If you could sum up The Etymologicon in three words, what would they be?

witty, educational, British

What does Simon Shepherd bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Wry British humour

Any additional comments?

The subject matter itself is quite dry - it's the history of words & phrases in the English language. Some may find that knowing the origin of the word "heroin" might not be worth their time or Audible credit (it was a trademark by Bayer for a cough syrup). But for language & history buffs, this is a great investment of your time & money.

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  • max
  • 06-07-12

Very good

A very good mix of knowlege, humour and interest. I didn't mind missing parts because I can listen again.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Will
  • 01-06-13

Brilliant and hilarious book

Despite listening to this book 3 times over now I still am at a loss for the correct words to describe just how much I love it! Etymology can often be a dry subject but Mark Forsyth shows a real love and appreciation for the neglected words of our language. I was surprised at how how funny this book is and immediately had to down load his second book The Horologycon which was just as interesting and just as funny :) Can't recommend them highly enough!!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul
  • 12-23-12

Words, words, words.

I really loved this book and the way it entwined words and their meanings together in a witty and sometimes intricate way. Anyone who enjoys tv programmes like Stephen Fry's QI will enjoy the trivia and references to our social, cultural and geographical history. I particularly took pleasure when words which I have always taken for granted suddenly took on new meanings and I had many eureka moments with the realisation of where these meanings came from. My only frustration; kept on having to pause and rewind, as the associations between words and their meanings moves through the text (you know what I mean) at some pace, I was still absorbing the previous paragraph when the equally interesting next section being narrated.



An excellent volume, well done Mr Forsyth.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Judy Corstjens
  • 05-19-16

Haven't laughed like this since Douglas Adams died

By which, of course, I mean to say that the humour and wit of Mark Forsyth is of a whimsical and wordy style that brings to mind the author of the Hitchhikers' Guide, and makes me laugh in a particularly satisfying way. In the long dark teatime of our suburban lives, we need humour that puts crises and unsolvable political wrangles in their places by focusing exclusively, intelligently and most probably accurately on the etymology of everyday and not so everyday words.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Balor of the Evil Eye
  • 08-19-13

Informative, well-researched and witty.

This is one of those titles that provides the listener with endless fodder for appearing well-educated when chatting with friends in the pub. The origin of words is often a very interesting topic; this publication proves, as so many other books on etymology have, that what you believed something meant was actually wrong. The changes in the accepted meaning of words, or, indeed how they are changed to fit human bias or assumptions (burnsides to sideburns is a good example), is well illustrated here - memes abound! The creation of a concatenation of words to show the change in their meaning from their origin is quite successful and often illuminating.
The narrator has a prissy, English accent, perfectly suited to the subject matter and quite good for delivering the witty asides that punctuate the book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Dawn
  • 07-08-13

Great listen

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would definitely recommend The Etymologicon to anyone with an interest in language.

What did you like best about this story?

The author takes your on a fascinating tour of the english language and circles all the way around to where he began in a really amusing way. Each chapter very neatly segues into the next with fun and surprising connections between words that most people wouldn't expect.

Any additional comments?

The only bad thing about this audiobook was that I could have gone on listening for weeks and I was pretty disappointed when it was over. It definitely could have been longer. Fingers crossed there will be a sequel!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Galbally Jr.
  • 01-28-15

Fascinating

This book was even better than expected. Having been taken by a sudden urge to find out the meanings of word, I was glad to do so in such an entertaining manner. Narration was excellent, engaging and enjoyable.
Such a good book I got a paper copy for reference and bookmarked the inky fool blog.
Highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr
  • 12-13-14

Loved it

Would you listen to The Etymologicon again? Why?

Listening to this book is just like a journey but of words. It links words to other words from their roots.

Who was your favorite character and why?

This book is all about words not characters.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The whole book is a joy. It starts and carries you along.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not really a moving book but highly interesting.

Any additional comments?

A highly unusual book which combines history and wods. Worth a read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Eva O'Donnell
  • 02-21-14

Perfect in so many ways.

Any additional comments?

I have dipped into this several times since I finished it, it's a lovely way to have a 'short listen'. I'm surprised how well-suited the subject matter is to the audiobook format.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Georgi Vladkov Petkov
  • 03-10-16

Fantastic

Opulent vocabulary that will impart immense
knowledge about English language and how it developed.
The narrative is clear and augment the embodied intricate humor.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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