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.
About the Author
Phil Cousineau is a writer, teacher, editor, documentary filmmaker, travel leader and storyteller. An expert in mythology, travel and creativity, he has published more than 25 books, including the bestselling The Art of Pilgrimage and Stoking the Creative Fires. He has 15 documentary screenwriting credits to his name, including The Hero's Journey and the Academy Award-nominated Forever Activists. Currently, he is host of the national television series Global Spirit on Link TV and lives in San Francisco, California. Scott Chamberlin Hoyt is a filmmaker, photographer, painter, budding tea connoisseur and director of The Meaning of Tea project. His longtime interest in tea increased when he began studying various alternatives to orthodox modern medicine and learned that tea, and the enjoyment of tea, is one of the cornerstones of living life well. Scott lives in New York City and is on the board for Global Learning Across Borders, is a member of the Directors Circle for the American Botanical Council, and is President of the Tibetan Classics Translators Guild of New York.
"Cousineau takes us into the obscure territory of word origins with great erudition and endearing curiosity."
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?
"I am awed by Phil Cousineau's scholarship and the overall view he has
of inner matters. He has a genius for the soulful dimensions of words,
and a rare intelligence for communicating the numinous dimension of
language. "Wordcatcher" will grace the lives of all who read it, and
inspire them to respect, even revere words as much as its author does."
Robert A. Johnson, author of He, She, and A Slender Thread
"Phil Cousineau’s Wordcatcher is a wonderful meditation on words that can be read from beginning to end if you are obsessed with speech, greedy for mountain air, and into enlightened verbal play. Not a dry lexical listing, each word Cousineau chooses sings with cellos, vagabonds through tongues and history, and bounces like a balloon on the moon, and as high as his quirky imagination takes us. Compelled reading for residence in the ancient synagogue of the word."
--Willis Barnstone, author of theRestored New Testament and Ancient Greek Lyrics