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Wordcatcher
An Odyssey into the World of Weird and Wonderful Words
Phil Cousineau
ISBN: 9781573444002
Book (Paperback)
Viva Editions
$15.95
5 x 7
202 pages
April 13, 2010


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"If you are a writer, wordsmither or even just a wannabe, this book is an awe-inspiring reference to guide you through those scary moments of finding just the right word to woo your readers and show-off your knowledge panache." —Portland Book Review

"Cousineau takes us into the obscure territory of word origins with great erudition and endearing curiosity." —Writer's Journal

“Phil Cousineau is a word wizard and his book, Wordcatcher, is a delightful adventure into a magical world. As I read his amazing etymological explanations of words from eldritch to floccinaucinihilipilification to lagniappe, I begin to understand why the Bible says ‘In the beginning was the Word.’ Phil has made clear that words don’t merely describe reality. They create it.” —Deepak Chopra, author of The Ultimate Happiness Prescription

“Stake out a claim next to the standard dictionary you use for this less pedantic companion. It contains fewer words but sends up Fourth of July skyrockets on all of them. But caveat emptor, readers beware! Cousineau’s love affair with words is contagious and you are likely to end up lovesick with words yourself.” —Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions and Tales of Wonder

"A book that allows us to remember the genius of language-- to see, feel and, it seems, even "taste" the living-ness and poetry hidden within these many common and uncommon words. A delicious book." --Jacob Needleman, author of What Is God?

Who knew that the great country of Canada is named for a mistake? How about "bedswerver," the best Elizabethan insult to hurl at a cheating boyfriend? By exploring the delightful back stories of the 250 words in Wordcatcher, readers are lured by language and entangled in etymologies. Author Phil Cousineau takes us on a tour into the obscure territory of word origins with great erudition and endearing curiosity. The English poet W. H. Auden was once asked to teach a poetry class, and when 200 students applied to study with him, he only had room for 20 of them. When asked how he chose his students, he said he picked the ones who actually loved words. So too, with this book — it takes a special wordcatcher to create a treasure chest of remarkable words and their origins, and any word lover will relish the stories that Cousineau has discovered.

Phil Cousineau is an award-winning writer and filmmaker, host of the Global Spirits series and travel tour leader. An early fascination with the art, literature, and history of culture has taken him from Michigan to Marrakesh, Iceland to the Amazon, in a worldwide search for what the ancients called the “soul of the world.” With more than 25 books and 15 scriptwriting credits to his name, the “omnipresent influence of myth in modern life” is a thread that runs through all of his work. His books include Stoking the Creative Fires and Once and Future Myths. A protégé of the late Joseph Campbell, Cousineau is also the editor of The Hero’s Journey.
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