Linguistics

$19.95 / Online Sale Price $14.96 paperback
978-0-8263-5656-7

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Word Drops: A Sprinkling of Linguistic Curiosities


Paul Anthony Jones

From aardvark to zenzizenzizenzic, Word Drops collects a thousand obscure words and language facts in one fascinating chain of word associations. Did you know, for example, that scandal derives from the Latin for “stumbling block” and originally described a trap for a wild animal? In nineteenth-century slang a wolf trap was a corrupt casino. Casino means “little house” in Italian. Roulette means “little wheel” in French. A wheeler is someone who attends auctions to bid on items merely to increase their sale price. Such links take readers on an unexpected journey through linguistic oddities. Inspired by the popular @HaggardHawks Twitter account, Word Drops also uses an intriguing series of annotations to add background and historical context on everything from Anglo-Saxon cures for insanity to Samuel Pepys’s cure for a hangover. This unique book will delight anyone who loves language, etymology, and word games.

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ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS

Paul Anthony Jones is the author of Haggard Hawks and Paltry Poltroons: The Origins of English in Ten Words and Jedburgh Justice and Kentish Fire: The Story of English in Ten Phrases and Expressions. He lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, in the northeast of England.

ACCLAIM

“Jones takes us back in time, and his love of language and engaging writing provides a reminder of how fun, whimsical, puzzling, and enjoyable language is.”

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5.5 x 8.5 in. 216 pages