The Etymologicon - Mark Forsyth

Review area devoted to Magic books, leaflets and other printed material

Moderators: Mandrake, bananafish, Lady of Mystery, support, nickj

Playing Cards for Magicians MagicWorld Magic Shop for Magic Tricks Manufacturer of modern & unique magic apparatus! Best prices around! UK's Online Magic Tricks and Jokes Shop offers kids and beginner magic tricks and jokes. Best prices around!

The Etymologicon - Mark Forsyth

Postby FTHO » Jan 6th, '13, 17:48

This isn't a magic book (unless you will except "it is the magic of the human language"), so feel free to move/delete, but I think some of you may find the book interesting/useful, I've recommended it to several friends, and bought copies for my girlfriend and for my mother.

The Effect
The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language by Mark Forsyth

The Etymologicon springs from Mark Forsyth's Inky Fool blog on the strange connections between words. It's an occasionally ribald, frequently witty and unerringly erudite guided tour of the secret labyrinth that lurks beneath the English language, taking in monks and monkeys, film buffs and buffaloes, and explaining precisely what the Rolling Stones have to do with gardening.

Cost - £8.96 on Amazon


The book seems like a conversation with the author, I can imagine sitting next to him on a long train journey and him chatting away and away and informing me about all of the fascinating things i didn't know about the English language.
According to google etymology is "The study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history." This book starts with one word, in explaining the origin of that word a related word comes up and is explained next, each word leads smoothly to the next.

The only section (that i can remember) that directly relates to magic is the origins of the term "Hocus Pocus" which was quite interesting.

This was one of those books where you were learning so much that you forgot most of it, but some of it has stayed with me and if it ever comes up in conversation i am ready with some interesting facts.

Plus i have used some of it for patter in a couple of effects.

If you have any passing interest in language - get this book.
If you have no interest in language - you'll be surprised by how entertaining and fascinating it is.

You won't learn any magic, but you might gain some inspiration.
You will learn some new knowledge, you might gain some script ideas.
You will probably be very entertained.

A lot of what we do is speak, learn where the words you use come from, find interconnected words and the relationship between words you would never have expected.

It is a very easy read, almost conversational. The author has a tendency to go on tangents, often explaining the roots to other words he uses (that aren't necessarily related to the current chapter), and points out interesting connections in words you use every day but have never noticed.

On a slight side note, his following book (The Horologicon) is slightly different, and explains obscure words in English - i haven't read it all yet, but so far i found it doesn't relate to me as well, as i have never heard any of these obscure words before, and probably won't remember any of them when i feel i need them (plus no one would understand the word anyway!)



Senior Member
Posts: 381
Joined: Jan 3rd, '11, 19:45

Return to Reviews - Books and other printed formats

A web site set up to sell my book, THE STRIPPER DECK, and future magical/mentalism titles. Dude That's Cool Magic Aeternum Servare Secreta Sorcery Shop - Home of the ITR Visit Magicbox for all the latest and best effects! Web Design for Magicians World-Of-Magic, Suppliers of quality Magic Worldwide

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests