Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What's In A Word By Webb Garrison

This is a fascinating book that tells us how some of the most common English words and phrases were originated,the real story behind them. The book covers more than 350 everyday words and phrases, all presented in simple,easy- to- understand language. I'll quote some parts of the author's own introduction of the book below.

"Practically every word and phrase we use is an easy to swallow verbal capsule. They're often potent and complex, being the end result of centuries of use. I have been fascinated by etymology{the study of word origins and developments} since my youth."

"......................this book is written in the form of "short short stories"-abbreviated forms of the American short story in which O. Henry excelled. The vignettes included here are brief enough for bath room reading, and many of them include surprise endings almost, but not quite, in the fashion of Paul Harvey's tales."

As you read thorough this book, you learn not only how those words came in to use, but also the history and culture in America and England in different eras. Any body with an interest in linguistics, culture, or history will specially find this book a good read, but this book suits the average reader pretty well too. I would end this review with just another quotation,this one from the content of the book .

"Few expressions have a more ancient lineage " checkmate." Now synonymous with " to thwart" or "to frustrate," it was long restricted to the game of chess.

No one knows where chess originated or when. It was already old when early Arabs borrowed it from the Persians. Through Spanish traders it reached Europe in the eighth century. In taking up the new game, the West adopted some of the ancient terms connected with it.

One such term was shah{king}, designating the most important of the playing pieces. According to the rules of the game, when shah was trapped, defeat was inevitable. An Arab who maneuvered his opponent into a hopeless position would cry, shah mat ! {the king is dead} Passing through Spanish and French, this expression entered English as checkmate and came to name any stroke of victory."


  1. well your Po$t is good and i really like it :). . .awesome WORK . . .KEEP SHARING. .;)
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  2. Hi book review help, Thank you very much,and sure,I'll keep sharing all my good reads.


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