Et Cetera, Et Cetera

Notes of a Word-Watcher
Lewis Thomas
ISBN 9781566491662 (paperback)
Published in August 2000
MSRP $14.95
Why is PUPIL both a student and a part of the eye? How and why did root words for TOGETHER connect with words meaning GOOD? What is the most commonly used and shocking taboo work in the English language, and where does it come from?
Et Cetera, Et Cetera: Notes of a Word-Watcher is a fascinating collection of 40 brief essays on words that “enchanted and obsessed” Lewis Thomas for over 20 years. Thomas, in writing that is fascinating, lucid and thought-provoking, takes up the origin of words, the development of language, and the light that words shed on the history of mankind. In each essay he departs from a word or words (mostly) of the Indo-European origin – the root of almost all the languages in the Western world – and explores the ancient networks of sound and sense, telling us how language preserves us, binds us, and makes us a social species. A brilliant, insightful guide, Thomas maneuvers gracefully through the varied and entertaining routes that have made words like DAINTY and DIGNITY, originally of the same root, become so removed from one another today; how FOOT is at the roost of PRESSIMISM; and much more.

LEWIS THOMAS was a physician, researcher, author, and teacher best known for his essays, which contain lucid meditations and reflections on a wide range of topics. He was a former dean of New York university Medical School and president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. His first book, the National Book Award-winning bestseller The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher, was a collection of 29 essays originally written for the New England Journal of Medicine. His critically acclaimed collections of essays include The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher, The Youngest Science, Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony, and The Fragile Species.