Beautiful Books: Comfortable Words

One of the great things about browsing in secondhand bookstores, library book sales–any place that sells old books–is that you come across fascinating volumes by happenstance. One such book is Comfortable Words by Bergen Evans, copyright 1962. This particular find explains such things as why a spiderweb is called a cobweb (because cob is a form of cop which is an old word for spider), and whether demean is a synonym for debase (today, yes; formerly, no). But perhaps the principal value of such a book to writers is that it reminds us of perfectly good, useful words that we seldom think to use–words like gumption, grouse, hassle, and hazard. Get thee to a shelf of old books and browse!

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