In So Many Words

Books of Educational and Informational Comics from Larry Paros

Our History

Before there was "In So Many Words," there was "A Word with you." Fifteen years ago, a time in the infancy of the internet, that unique website captured the attention of multitudes of readers. It received dozens of awards, including acclaim from Details magazine and the Dummies Daily. It was declared a "Hot" site by USA Today and a "Cool" site by Yahoo, and in little more than a year, attracted a quarter of a million visitors and several thousand subscribers from all over the world who received the column daily with their email. Alas, after several years, the site closed, not because of lack of interest, but because of financial constraints. So here we are back again — risen from the dead.

Our Origins
The Yolk's On You

This project has been inspired in part by two scholars, Owen Barfield and Russell Lockhart. Barfield was a pioneer in the study of the history of language who believed that language preserved the inner living history of man's soul, and that by studying it, we could see the unfolding and evolution of our consciousness. Lockhart provided the apt metaphor in Words as Eggs (1983), pointing towards content hidden beneath a shell which had to be shattered so that it might be fully revealed and made useful.

That shell he sought to crack was etymology. That is its logic. More than a principle of order or knowledge, logos (Greek for 'word') refers to the internal consistency of the message and the clarity of its claim. For Lockhart, This becomes even more meaningful when we realize that etmos means "truth." The logos of etmos is thus, "truth speaking."

Both men encouraged us to move beyond the dry literal meaning of words; to dig more deeply; to excavate the information and images buried within, and to connect with the word's interiority, i.e. its imagination. All one had to do was follow the connections that arose spontaneously through the release of images into consciousness, made easily recognizable by their having resonated for us personally.

Neither a linguistic scholar nor a student of psychology, I am simply a lover of words who serendipitously chanced upon these two scholarly works which provide the scaffolding for my passion. It was comforting, however, to know I was not alone - operating in the same spirit as the credentialed Barfield and Lockhart - one which rejected the utilitarian path for one guided by curiosity and pleasure.


Larry Paros is a writer, teacher, lecturer and professional ne'er-do-well. He is also a character featured in "In So Many Words." His published works range from education and etymology to children's books. Included among them are: The Great American Cliché, A Word with You America, The Erotic Tongue, Bawdy Language, and Smashcaps.

He has also been an op-ed page columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and a commentator on KUOW-FM, the NPR affiliate in Seattle. As a filmmaker he produced and directed The Journey, the story of an immigrant's trek to America and Walk Right In, the story of the other Yale. His evil twin has been a master teacher whose work in alternative education has received national recognition; and a neuroscientist who helped design and market a unique device for the treatment of stress.

Words and Me

When I was in 7th grade, we studied the names of all the sciences conveniently concluding in the suffix, "-logy. " The one definition which students found most difficult to retain was "etymology, " the science or study of word origins - invariably confusing it with "entomology, " the study of insects. For many of my colleagues, words were apparently just so many little black bugs meandering across a page.

I had a different relationship to language. Words were special to me, even as a child. Early on, I attributed magical qualities to them, believing that locked within were mysterious insights which could help guide me through life. What you are about to read is a work of etymology.


Sam Z (Z as in Zaninovich) is an illustration robot built in California under the Cheaper Artwork act of 1975. An extensive comic book and cartoon upload was installed and is continually updated and cross referenced with a comedy and movie program. The unit was shipped to Seattle in 2003 and has been busy producing artwork ever since. Its recent output includes conceptualizing and co-creating "Da Crew" at Jets Rogers at as well as for the unit's own website,

The unit was married to a toaster, and they had a small night light together. Response to the query, "What do you do in your spare time?" DOES NOT COMPUTE ------------------