Once Upon a Word: A Word-Origin Dictionary for Kids―Building Vocabulary Through Etymology, Definitions & Stories by Jess Zafarris

SKU: B300


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Where do words come from?―Teaching kids ages 9 to 12 vocabulary through word origins

The English language is made up of words from different places, events, and periods of time. Each of those words has an exciting story to tell us about where, when, how, and why they came about. Once Upon a Word by Jess Zafarris is packed with easy-to-understand definitions and awesome word origin stories. With this dictionary for kids, you can understand the history and meaning of English words, improve your vocabulary and spelling, and learn to play with language.

Explore how weird words like gnome, fun words like zombie, and common words like caterpillar came to exist. Discover why some words sound funnier than others (like cacklesizzle, and twang) and why some groups of words start with the same few letters (like hydratehydrogen, and fire hydrant). In this dictionary for kids, there’s a whole world of English words to uncover!

This unique dictionary for kids includes:

  • Roots & branches―Learn about the building blocks that make up words, called rootsprefixes, and suffixes.
  • Kid-friendly definitions―Look up definitions designed for your reading level in this dictionary for kids.
  • Word tidbits―Find out where your favorite food words got their start, from bacon to marshmallowspaghettiyogurt, and beyond.


See how the English language evolved with this colorful dictionary for kids!


Did you know that…

  • “Amateur” comes from the Latin amatorem, meaning “lover,” because an amateur does something for the love of it rather than for work?
  • “Thesaurus” essentially means “treasure trove,” from the Greek thesauros, meaning “treasury” or “treasure chest”?
  • “Clone,” comes from the Greek klon, meaning “twig” because the earliest cloning process involved breaking twigs off of plants and using them to grow new ones?
  • “Brilliant” comes from a Latin word literally meaning “shining like beryl” (beryl being a category of mineral/gemstone to which emerald and aquamarine belong)?
  • “Algebra” comes from the Arabic al-jabr, meaning “a reunion of broken parts,” and was both an Arabic mathematical term and a medical term for setting broken bones?

Discover the magic of word origins in the pages of this new book of etymology, definitions, stories and more.

Paperback: 260 pages

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Weight 2 lbs


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