THE ORIGINS OF WORDS FROM NATURE by Stephen & Laurens Sargent Potter


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Many of us did not know that the late Stephen Potter was a serious student of nature as well as human nature, and this book has been appropriately and gracefully presented from notes he left at his death by philologist Sargent. Potter pottered in many gardens and kingdoms to identify not only the origins of words (or pedigree = pied de gruet = crane's foot) dealing, of course, with herbs and plants and birds and animals of all kinds but also, in later chapters, measurements from nature, disease and medicine(s), dialect (and thick it is) etc. The work is well systematized from early theories and roots and origins on to the various nomenclatures derived from many tongues as well as action, appearance, habits, sounds, physique, and so forth. The enormous erudition is undercut by the very pleasant tone; one will also welcome the short chapters -- a few pages at a time -- which make it easier to absorb; and the index is an additional useful accessory. . . . Whether the hobby is an avocation or a young male falcon, Messers. Potter and Sargent have released an eagle (L. aquila) of a book.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1974
Publisher: Taplinger