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Word by Word

  • Hardcover $26.95

    Mar 14, 2017 | 320 Pages

  • Ebook $13.99

    Mar 14, 2017 | 336 Pages

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“As a writer, Kory Stamper can do anything with words: define them, split them, lump them, agglute them, and make them work for her every bit as ferociously and precisely as she works for them in her day job as a far from mild-mannered lexicographer at Merriam-Webster. You will never take a dictionary entry for granted again.”
—Mary Norris, bestselling author of Between You & Me

“Delightful… Unforgettable… A gloriously (occasionally even uproariously) well written book.”
—Stevie Godson, New York Journal of Books
“Excellent… [A] love letter to letters themselves… [A]n erudite and loving and occasionally profane history of the English language. Stamper [is] a wry and charming correspondent.”
—Megan Garber, The Atlantic
“Charming…told in Stamper’s fresh and funny voice. Hungry word lovers will find this book a delicious, multicourse meal of word lore.”
Library Journal (Starred Review)
“Witty, sly… Stamper corrals [words] to her purpose with such aplomb that readers might just feel like applauding. For those who love language, this debut…will be a delectable feast.”
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Table Of Contents

Preface xi

HRAFNKELL: On Falling in Love 3
BUT: On Grammar 23
IT’S: On “Grammar” 38
IRREGARDLESS: On Wrong Words 52
CORPUS: On Collecting the Bones 68
SURFBOARD: On Defining 94
PRAGMATIC: On Examples 125
TAKE: On Small Words 136
BITCH: On Bad Words 149
POSH: On Etymology and Linguistic Originalism 169
NUCLEAR: On Pronunciation 199
NUDE: On Correspondence 216
MARRIAGE: On Authority and the Dictionary 230
EPILOGUE: The Damnedest Thing 255

Acknowledgments 263
Notes 265
Bibliography 275
Index 281

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