Dictionaries of etymology and word histories differ greatly in what is increasingly being called "accessibility" or "user-friendliness." This new work from Oxford, which provides the histories of more than 12,000 words, is definitely on the accessible side. Virtually all of the words are common, "everyday" words--core words--with only a handful of the exotics to which editors of other collections of word histories are drawn. Chantrell discusses the words straightforwardly and with a bit more vivacity than might be expected. In addition, her information is undoubtedly fresher than anyone else's, drawn as it is from the database of ongoing research for the Oxford English Dictionary.
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