Posts Tagged ‘The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities’

Hello and happy Friday!  And you all know what Friday brings, yes,  its time to share another post to celebrate Indie Publishing and this time it’s Elliott & Thompson in the spotlight!   Today the book being featured is The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities by Paul Anthony Jones.


Cabinet Cover PC.indd

A whole year’s worth of linguistic curiosities, just waiting to be discovered.

Within these pages you might leap back in time, learn about linguistic trivia, follow a curious thread or wonder at the web of connections in the English language.

1 January quaaltagh (n.) the first person you meet on New Year’s Day

1 April dorbellist (n.) a fool, a dull-witted dolt
12 May word-grubber (n.) someone who uses obscure or difficult words in everyday conversation

25 September theic (adj.) an excessive drinker of tea

24 December doniferous (adj.) carrying a gift

Paul Anthony Jones has unearthed a wealth of strange and forgotten words: illuminating some aspect of the day, or simply telling a cracking good yarn, each reveals a story. Written with a light touch that belies the depth of research it contains, this is both a fascinating compendium of etymology and a captivating historical miscellany. Dip into this beautiful book to be delighted and intrigued throughout the year.


My Thoughts & Review:

Forgotten words are something of a fascination for me, actually if I’m honest, words in general are a love of mine.  I was that kid who kept a notebook of my favourite words, ones that sounded exciting or mystical, words that were funny to pronounce or just ones that I liked the look of written down.  I think I still have some of the notebooks somewhere, and occasionally I read something and think that I should start a new notebook to collect the new words I’ve found.  But then  I discovered the books bu Paul Anthony Jones, and now there’s someone out there making a book of words for me to enjoy!

Like most readers, the moment I got hold of this book I instantly went to see what word appeared on my  birthday, it’s just one of those things you do isn’t it?

hiemate (v.) to spend the winter

Derived from hiems, a Latin word for ‘winter’, hiemate is a seventeenth-century word meaning to spend or see out the winter.

What does seeing out the coldest season of the year have to do with a date at the height of summer? Well, despite the fact that the summer solstice typically takes place around 20–22 June – so that from now until the end of the year the nights are drawing in – today’s date is linked to an unfortunate incident in global exploration that led to the mutiny and death of one of England’s greatest explorers.

In April 1610, Henry Hudson set sail on his fourth trans- atlantic voyage, hoping to locate a long-sought-after easterly route through the Arctic and on to Asia. Sailing north to Iceland and Greenland, Hudson’s ship Discovery reached the Labrador
Peninsula on the far east coast of Canada in June, and from there sailed into a vast, open bay. Believing they had found the fabled Northwest Passage, Hudson spent the following months carefully mapping the bay’s shoreline – but as winter set in, no passage to Asia ever materialised. Before long the Discovery had become trapped in the ice and her crew were forced to head to the shoreline to see out the winter on land.

During the long Canadian winter, discontent began to grow among Hudson’s crew and the following year they mutinied.
When the ice retreated and the Discovery was freed, on 22 June 1611, Hudson, his teenage son John and a handful of loyal crewmembers were set adrift in a small, open-topped boat. They were never seen again.

Hudson’s fate remains unknown – but the vast bay he dis-
covered, and into which he was eventually cast adrift, still bears his name to this day.

Learn something new every day eh?

The best things about this book, and indeed the other books by Paul Anthony Jones is that you can dip in and out of them at your leisure to unearth some wonderful treasures.  If you don’t want to check up each day for the particular word, why not head to the index and randomly pick one?  For instance, lunette or yule-hole and then flick to the corresponding page to find out what they mean.  This was something I particularity enjoyed, then reading them out to my bemused husband after quizzing him on what he thought they might mean.  There were also a few that had us giggling like scugways or beaglepuss, the words themselves just funny to say and then finding out the meanings just made us smile even more.  The discovery that I could be classed as a theic did give us a laugh too.

I would say that this is the perfect book for fans of language, people who thrive on knowing the unique meanings of words, the origins and the history of phrases. I would thoroughly recommend this book, and it would probably make a great Christmas present (just in case you’ve started to think about shopping).

It’s obvious that a lot of time and effort has gone into the research for this book, each nugget of information has an explanation to go with it and a beautiful image of an ornate key.  It’s the small things that capture the eye sometimes, and although not small, the cover is exceptionally beautiful.  It needs to be seen to be fully appreciated, as do each and every one of the entries in this awesome book.

I think it’s safe to say that this is a book that I will be returning to regularly throughout the year and perhaps be appearing on my top books of 2017.


You can buy your copy of The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities via:

Amazon UK
Book Depository


** My thanks to the lovely Alison Menzies and the folks at Elliot and Thompson for my copy of this wonderful book and for taking part in Celebrating Indie Publishing **

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