It's a Wonderful Word: The Real Origins of Our Favourite Words

Front Cover
Random House, Nov 3, 2011 - History - 288 pages

Did you know that an assassin is a hashish-eater and a yokel a country woodpecker?

That Dr Mesmer mesmerised patients back to health or that Samuel Pepys enjoyed a good game of handicap?

While we're at it, what have spondulics to do with spines or lawyers with avocados?

In It's a Wonderful Word, bestselling author Albert Jack collects over 500 of the strangest, funniest-sounding and most delightful words in the English language, and traces them back to their often puzzling origins. While brushing up on your gibberish or gobbledygook, discover why bastards should resent travelling salesmen, why sheets should remain on tenterhooks and why you should never set down a tumbler before finishing your drink.

From blotto to bamboozle and from claptrap to quango, Albert Jack's addictive anecdotes bring the world's most colourful language to life and are guaranteed to surprise and entertain.

 

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Contents

About the Book
About the Author
ITS AWONDERFULWORD
INTRODUCTION
NAMES AND PLACES
FOOD AND DRINK
UNDER THE INFLUENCE
LOVE AND LUST
CRIMES AND MISDEMEANOURS
LAW AND ORDER
MILITARY AND NAUTICAL
LANGUAGE LITERATURE AND THEPERFORMING ARTS
SCIENCE AND NATURE
TOYS GAMES AND SPORTS
NICKNAMES AND INSULTS
FOREIGN LANGUAGES

STUFF AND NONSENSE
TRADE AND INDUSTRY
FASHION STATEMENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
INDEX OF ENTRIES
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

ALBERT JACK is a writer and historian. His first book, Red Herrings and White Elephants, explored the origins of well-known phrases; an international bestseller, it was serialised by the Sunday Times for over a year. He followed up this success with a series of bestsellers including Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep and Pop Goes the Weasel, a book exploring the dark histories and little-known meanings behind nursery rhymes.

Fascinated by discovering the truth behind the world's great stories, Albert has become an expert in explaining the unexplained. He is now a veteran of hundreds of live television shows and thousands of radio appearances worldwide. He divides his time between Guildford and Cape Town.

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