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December 19 , 2010

Dog Days and Dandelions

A Lively Guide to the Animal Meanings Behind Everyday Words


From apian (like a bee) to zodiac (little-animals circle), a word book that spots the animal origins of words and names

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There are mice in your muscles, and blackbirds in your merlot. Behind adulation is a dog's wagging tail. Peculiar houses a herd of cattle. Grubby is crawling with bugs. Wordhound Martha Barnette collects more than 300 common (and a few not-so-common) words that have surprising animal roots. Tracing word origins back to ancient Greek and Latin as well as to European roots and American slang, the entries offer a guided tour through literature, science, folklore, politics, and more – with a wilderness of animal meanings at every turn.

For fledgling word sleuths as well as those who fawn over etymologies, this is a delightful smorgasbord for writers, students, and word lovers.

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