In the beginning was the word
"Let thy words be few," the Bible admonishes us (Ecclesiastes 5:2), but the Bible itself is the source of a surprising number of the words and phrases used today in the English language. Word sleuths Stanley Malless and Jeffrey McQuain have collected 150 examples of these biblically rooted expressions in a fascinating new collection, Coined by God. Subtitled "Words and Phrases That First Appear in The English Translations of the Bible," this slender volume is filled with unexpected finds: the word "uproar," for example, first appeared in Tyndale's 1526 translation. "Puberty" was introduced by noted biblical translator John Wycliffe in 1382. Such common words as "appetite," "glory" and "zeal" all first appeared in the Bible. Many of the phrases cited are familiar ("land of nod," from Genesis and "salt of the earth," from Matthew), but the authors add tidbits of biblical background and historical context that make the entries a lively treat for any lover of the language.