The Horologicon: A Day’s Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language, review

The problem with the alphabet is that it bears no relation to anything at all, and when words are arranged alphabetically they are uselessly separated. In the OED, for example, aardvarks are 19 volumes away from the zoo, yachts are 18 volumes from the beach, and wine is 17 volumes from the nearest corkscrew.


I’ve learnt a bunch of out of use English words with this book, unfortunately I can’t think of any other more pompous and well-deserved word than magnificent to describe The Horologicon: A Day’s Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language (2012).

This book is a delightful journey through a day and the old words we can use to describe this entire day

Forsyth did a great job with The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language (2011), the first Forsyth’s book I read. He did it again with The Horologicon, a book full of irony, entertainment, enlightenment and information about language history and old English words that should never dissappear from English vocabulary. In fact we should use all those words in a way as clever as Forsyth does to describe the different activities we do and different places we are through the day, for example, the office:

Offices are peculiar places and nobody is ever quite sure what happens in them, least of all the people who work there. But the day tends to begin with a morning meeting, in which everybody decides what they will fail to do for the rest of the day.

If you like history of language this book is for you. If you enjoy showing your eloquence in random conversations, this book is definitely for you. If you like to enlighten yourself when you discover words with obscure old meanings, yes, this book is also for you.

If you choose to read the audiobook narrated by Simon Shepherd it is definitely a plus and a perfect way to be read The Horologicon (Audible Studios, 2012).

Maybe you ask me: Why bothering reviewing a book published five years ago? Even this book isn’t certainly new, I truly believe it deserves a review no matter how long it’s been since it first appeared and started to enlighten readers.

Title: The Horologicon: A Day’s Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language
Autor: Mark Forsyth
Publisher/year: Audible Studios, 2012
Length: 6 hrs and 16 mins.
Rate: *****