Words Words Words

David Crystal, Words Words Words
Oxford University Press, 2006


From this engaging book, I note  the following words and  passages.


Aptronym = when a name is felt to be especially appropriate to a person, when a Dentist is called Tooth.

Dialect = use of language which tells other people where you are from.

Eponym = when a name becomes an everyday word in a language  [chauvinistic]

Hyponymy = one word is included in another… tulip is a hyponym of flower

Lexeme= a unit of sense; walks, walker, walking are variants of the lexeme “walk”

Onamstics = name-study of person names and place names

Semantic field = cluster of related words

Wordhoards = collection of words one could draw upon when performing [Anglo-Saxon singers]

Wordsmithery = lexicology = the study of words



A good dictionary thrives on the brilliance of its definitions.  They have to be clear, succinct, relevant, and discriminating.

When Shakespeare wanted a word to express a particular idea, he had no reference books to help him.

Half of Shakespeare disappears, if we eliminate the French and Latin words.

When we study words, we have to study names, too, for everything influences everything. Names become words. Words become names.

When do we know a word is dead?

Languages do not improve or deteriorate, they just change.

The most important piece of equipment for the wordsmith are eyes, ears—and a pocket notebook.


—Friday 18 December 2009

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