A peek into the past is what David Crystal’s book Words in Time and Place¬†provides its readers. The book explores the language and terminology of days gone by, using the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary as the source. The author delves into the history of fifteen fascinating sets of words: words for dying, for nose, for being drunk; for a meal, a privy, a fool; words of endearment and oaths; words for inns, prostitutes, money, weather, spacecraft; and more. The Oxford University Press brought this information to our attention in their release, “Announcing the publication of Words in Time and Place: Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, by David Crystal.”

The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary was published in 2009 and was the first comprehensive thesaurus in the world to arrange words by meaning in order of first recorded use. It includes 800,000 words and meanings, in 235,000 entry categories. Despite its length, it is very fascinating to read.

Melody K. Smith

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