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Often, however, our use of language is so automatic that we neglect to consider where those words came from and what they assume. What are the implications, beyond the simple dictionary definitions, of using words such as privilege, hysteria, seminal, and gyp?
Browsing through the pages of The Barhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology is like exploring the historical, political, and rhetorical wonderland of our linguistic heritage. We see the evolution of ideas, as rootword connections that now seem arbitrary are traced to schools of thought from the past. We also find an opportunity to examine how the sometimes backwards, sometimes hilarious, and sometimes illuminating ideologies built into our language affect our modern thinking.
Written in a fresh, accessible style, this book provides the derivations of over 21,000 English-language words without resorting to the use of abbreviations, symbols, or technical terminology. Drawing on the most current American scholarship, and focusing on the core words in contemporary English, The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology is both a diverting browse and a thinking person's Bible.
"A vivid picture of time and place... a thought-provoking and engaging piece of historical fiction""--School Library Journal""Avi is one of our most versatile and prolific children's writers...and this novel is the best thing he's done.""--Booklist" (*Starred Review*)