The Painted Word is a book for true word lovers—not a book for leisure reading but one to be savored in short snippets, so you can think upon the words and the accompanying artwork. While many of the words that appear in this book are familiar, everyday words, Cousineau will make the reader think about them in new ways. Whoever thought, for example, that the word “dandelion” comes from an Old French term (dent de lion) that meant “lion’s tooth?”
This is what the reader gets in The Painted Word: a collection of interesting words (current and archaic), their origins, their companion words, and how they have been used. Some of the words are inspirations for the paintings that appear in the book by artist Gregg Chadwick, which add another dimension to the book’s title.
I found as I read through the collection that I want to work some of these words into my everyday language, like “faffle” (to stammer, hesitate, waste time), “bafflegab” (confusing or misleading language), and “snollygoster” (a corrupt politician). Not only are such words fun to say, but they have interesting origins.
The Painted Word is not a book for everyone. However, someone who has fun with vocabulary--a “wordpecker,” if you will--will thoroughly enjoy this book. It’s entertaining and enlightening without being hifalutin.