Meaning and origin of ‘blurb’

When we pick up any book, the first thing we normally look at is the back cover. It usually contains the publisher’s/reviewers’ short, but raving description of the book. This description, which is always full of praise for both the author and the book, is called a ‘blurb’.

Example: According to the blurb, this is the best novel written by the author.

Although the idea of a blurb had been in existence for a long time, the word itself was coined only in the 20th century. I understand that it was the brainchild of Gelett Burgess, the well-known author of ‘The Purple Cow’. When his new book, ‘Are You Bromide?’ was launched, Burgess persuaded his publishers to do away with the usual sugary write-up. Instead, he made them paste the picture of a girl whom he named Miss. Belinda Blurb. The back cover said, ‘YES, this is a BLURB’; it contained quotes from Ms. Blurb. As a result, anything that was printed on the back cover began to be called a blurb. Nowadays, we have blurbs on DVD and VCD covers as well.

Source: ‘Know Your English’ ( The Hindu) – August 06, 2007 



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