An alphabetical listing of some 8000 English words with their histories, this book omits other dictionary features such as pronunciation, part of speech, and, in most cases, definitions. It is interesting to explore the sometimes surprising groups of related words; under doctor , for example, we are referred to 11 other entries, ranging from dainty to paradox . The date of a word's first appearance in the language is indicated by century or by "OE" for Old English. The author is English, so Americans will miss some typically American words such as raccoon , ranch , or stoop (porch). Like Craig M. Carver's recent (and smaller) History of English in Its Own Words ( LJ 6/15/91), this book is not a reference acquisition for any library owning the OED or Webster's unabridged, but it makes interesting reading for the public library patron or the linguistics or English student.