The Tyranny of Words

The pioneering and still essential text on semantics, urging readers to improve human communication and understanding with precise, concrete language.

In 1938, Stuart Chase revolutionized the study of semantics with his classic text, TheĀ Tyranny of Words. Decades later, this eminently useful analysis of the way we use words continues to resonate. A contemporary of the economist Thorstein Veblen and the author Upton Sinclair, Chase was a social theorist and writer who despised the imprecision of contemporary communication. Wide-ranging and erudite, this iconic volume was one of the first to condemn the overuse of abstract words and to exhort language users to employ words that make their ideas accurate, complete, and readily understood.

Language in Thought and Action

Renowned professor and former U.S. Senator S. I. Hayakawa discusses the role of language in human life, the many functions of language, and how language – sometimes without our knowing – shapes our thinking in this engaging and highly respected book. Provocative and erudite, it examines the relationship between language and racial and religious prejudice; the nature and dangers of advertising from a linguistic point of view; and, in an additional chapter called The Empty Eye, the content, form, and hidden message of television, from situation comedies to news coverage to political advertising.