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Once Upon a Word – Jess Zafarris



Once upon a time, a word was born.

The English language is a twisty beast.

Words are picked up from all sorts of countries, time periods and languages and then are funneled into English.

When you understand the history and meaning of the words you use, you also gain a better understanding of language – and the world!

This word-origin guide provides an in-depth look and explanation into some of the oddest English words.

Included in this book is a chart of word roots, prefixes and suffixes as well as a little bit about where the months got their names.

And, of course, it defines a plethora of words – from common ones to obscure – including their origin stories.

At the beginning of each letter for the alphabet was a fabulous little drawing to brighten up the dictionary.

There were SO many fun word origins – for example, the word “molar” (your back teeth) likely came from the latin word for millstone (for grinding grain into flour).

And the sound effect for laugh used to be hlihhan in Old English (before we settled on hahaha)!

AND ghost came from the Old English word gast which was often used to mean “breath”.

As a huge fan of highly detailed books focused on the mundane and obscure – I adored this one! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the author considers doing an idiom sequel!

A huge thank you to the author and Rockridge Press for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review

Interested in this one from Jess Zafarris? Buy it here:  Amazon

One thought on “Once Upon a Word – Jess Zafarris

  1. Kinda a word origin story, I love the transformation of “let”. Nowadays when you “let” someone, it generally means to allow, i.e. I let him borrow my car. But 500 years ago it meant to stop, pretty much the exact opposite haha.

    And that explains the confusing-at-first-glance quote from Hamlet, “I’ll make a ghost of him who lets me”, which is a threat to kill whoever tries to stop him.


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