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The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the…

The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English… (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Mark Forsyth

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207856,585 (3.84)3
Title:The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language
Authors:Mark Forsyth
Info:Icon Books Ltd (2012), Hardcover, 256 pages
Collections:Your library, Vine programme
Tags:non-fiction, reference, English language, linguistics, humour

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The Horologicon by Mark Forsyth (2012)



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I found this very entertaining, a look at some unused words for a variety of tasks throughout the day. It was fun to see how little things change in some areas of life. The list of words for drunkenness was impressive.

It's a book to read over time as well, and while many of the words have already slipped from my mind, I'm sure a few will creep in to my vocabulary occasionally when needed.

Forsyth brings us through a day with words that have lapsed from use. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Feb 17, 2016 |
Somewhat unfortunately, I read this at the same time as the new QI book of 1,227 facts, which included many of the words in this volume, obviously not by total coincidence. It's a fun book, though, with Mark Forsyth's humour as much as or more in evidence than in The Etymologicon. I don't think I'm going to remember many of these words, if any, but they are indeed satisfying and odd, and some of them are undeservedly defunct. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
I loved this author's other language book, [b:The Etymologicon|12870068|The Etymologicon A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language|Mark Forsyth|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327934087s/12870068.jpg|18022434], so once I heard about this one I knew I had to read it.

This is a different sort of book though and doesn't quite hit the mark. The previous book, as the title suggests, is about the origins behind words, a topic I find fascinating. I like to know why we use words the way we do and how they evolved to current standards.

This book though is less about origins, though some are included, and more about obscure and forgotten words for various things. Each chapter is linked to an hour of the day and things associated with that hour. It was a good way of tying together different words and worked well.

Overall though this book just wasn't as interesting. There were a lot of funny words but there were also a great deal of words that were just a Latin version of an ordinary word. I find those rather boring as you can take almost any word and translate it into Latin. I'm more interested in the words that sprang from other sources.

If you like language I'd still recommend this book but I think you'll have a more enjoyable time reading [b:The Etymologicon|12870068|The Etymologicon A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language|Mark Forsyth|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327934087s/12870068.jpg|18022434]. ( )
  Shirezu | Mar 31, 2013 |
This is a really fun book and a must read for anyone who loves reading and learning about words. See my full review: http://youtu.be/b10UgeizXcA ( )
  Rincey | Mar 30, 2013 |
Are you looking for that wonderful gift to present to the individual in your life who appears to have swallowed a lexicon with their mornings repast, and have you been a bit tardy in getting said article? Well fret not here is an awesome nay, Brobdingnagian offering that could easily engender feelings of exuberance and even adoration from said recipient!

In his preambulation Mark Forsyth states that this book is for those words that are..

“To beautiful to live long, too amusing to be taken seriously, too precise to become common, too vulgar to survive in polite company, or too poetic to thrive in this age of prose.”

He goes on to say that these words languish away in old and arenaceous dictionaries, that these are the lost words and the great secrets of civilisations that can still be of use today.

What sets this marvellous read apart from your standard lexicon is the method of recording used does not follow the A – Z format. In fact the writer states that by having words arranged alphabetically within a dictionary you render them useless as they bear no relation to their neighbouring words and are estranged from those words they share a relationship with (for example in the Oxford English Dictionary, wine and corkscrew are separated by seventeen volumes). This led the author after hours of rumination and a degree of puttering to fix upon the idea of using the medieval book of hours as his solution to this dilemma, in the process reinventing the reference book for the modern world and it’s constant haste. With this method all one needs to do is to check the time of day via whatever clepsydra you prefer and then by referring to the correct page within this publication - suitable words should avail themselves for your use and the delectation of all within earshot.

The Horologicon (or book of hours) is the partner to last years The Etymologicon, and like that wonderful book, uses Mark’s Inky Fool blog, as it’s reference point. Where as the previous work, threaded us through the strange connection that exist between words, The Horologicon, is literally a book of hours, charting the period from just before the moment day-raw streaks red across the sky and guiding us through the day and eventide up until Bulls-noon, where we, having wished bene darkmans to our loved ones, will hopefully be ensconced in our dreamery, asleep in those arms of Morpheus.

This was a BBC radio 4 book of the week (read by Hugh Dennis) and was described as:

“The Horologicon (or book of hours) gives you the most extraordinary words in the English language, arranged according to the hour of the day when you really need them. Do you wake up feeling rough? Then you're philogrobolized. Pretending to work? That's fudgelling, which may lead to rizzling if you feel sleepy after lunch, though by dinner time you will have become a sparkling deipnosophist. From Mark Forsyth, author of the bestselling The Etymologicon, this is a book of weird words for familiar situations. From ante-jentacular to snudge by way of quafftide and wamblecropt, at last you can say, with utter accuracy, exactly what you mean.”


“This is a reference work. You should on no account attempt to read it cover to cover. If you do, Hell itself will have no horrors for you, and neither the author nor his parent company will accept liability for any suicides, rampages, or crazed nudity that may result.” Mark Forsyth. ( )
3 vote parrishlantern | Dec 21, 2012 |
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Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.
Job 35, verse 16
For my parents
First words
Tennyson once wrote that:
Words, like Nature, half reveal
And half conceal the soul within.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English


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A humourous stroll
Through the forgotten words of
The English language.

No descriptions found.

The Horologicon, which means 'a book of things appropriate to each hour', follows a day in the life of unusual, beautiful and forgotten English words.

(summary from another edition)

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