For every hour of the day, The Horologicon brings us a lost word or four to perfectly suit any situation. Mark Forsyth takes us through an average working day from the first moments of consciousness to avoiding working at work, ending on a night out and a much deserved descent into sleep.

The Horologicon is an absolute delight to read if you just love words. I laughed out loud on several occasions and have squirrelled away so many new old words for future use. Don’t let these words die out! There are nod-crafty snollygosters, whifflers and causey-webs in the coughery. And that’s before you’ve even done any work. Need an excuse to skive off? Mark can help you out, at least in baffling your boss without even lying.

But these days the closest thing to a levee is the early-morning phone call to your boss to egrote. Egrote is a fantastically useful word meaning “to feign sickness in order to avoid work”.

Mark does warn us that reading the book all in one go will drive you insane and it’s intended as a book to dip into. But it does follow you (yes it’s written in second person without being annoying) throughout a day and runs in chronological order. Breaks are recommended if you want to remember all the words as it could be a bit of information overload, but in an enjoyable way. Not only is it full of wonderful and weird words, there are plenty of amusing and interesting historical anecdotes to back them up. Learn about the professional business of writing begging letters and the history of tea and the great tea masters. You’ll even learn the real meaning of murder! There’s no literary log-rolling required here, it’s genuinely a book to be read by all.

The Horologicon is published by Icon Books and is currently available in hardback and ebook formats. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley. And I love it so much I’ll be getting myself a print copy to refer to at all times of the day.

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