METRO PLUS

A verbivore's delight

DID YOU know that "corduroy" means "the cloth of the king"? Or that "angary" is not necessarily a word misspelt? Or even that "Full Monty" now finds an entry in Oxford dictionary? If these are adequate teasers for you to want to know more about the strange ways of English language, Anu Garg's A Word A Day (Wiley Dreamtech India P. Ltd., Rs. 149)) is a must-read. The sentence that winds down the cover page goes: "A romp through some of the most unusual and intriguing words in English." And the contents of the book, written by the founder of wordsmith.org (where you can subscribe to a word a day for free"), don't prove disappointing.

Writes Mr. Garg in the introduction: "Perhaps it's no coincidence that the word words is an anagram of sword. Well-used words cut through ambiguity and confusion like a sharp sword... Words move us, inspire, animate, motivate, challenge, and delight us. It's what this whole book is about." Commenting on what Mark Twain says about a dictionary ("I have studied it often, but I never could discover the plot.), says Mr. Garg: "Well, a dictionary is a place where each word has a plot, a whole history behind it. Each word has a its own biography — we call it etymology. They change, they evolve, they adapt, they die, and they get revived."

The book is divided into 55 sections, ranging from "Words not to put on your resume" to "Semordnilap" (the reverse of "palindromes").

A bonus are some interesting quotes from various people at the end of each page in the book. Here is one by Khalil Gibran: "Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of dictionary."

Grab this gem of a book..

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