How well do you know your words?
Buxom used to mean obedient
A cloud was a rock
Raunchy originally meant dirty
Brimming with hidden histories and tantalising twists, The Accidental Dictionary tells the extraordinary stories behind ordinary words.
Our everyday language is full of surprises; its origins are stranger than you might think. Any word might be knocked and buffeted, subjected to twists and turns, expansions and contractions, happy and unhappy accidents. There are intriguing tales behind even the most familiar terms, and they can say as much about the present as they do the past.
Busking, for instance, originally meant piracy. Grin meant to snarl. A bimbo was a man, nice meant ignorant, glamour was magic and a cupboard was a table...
Focusing on 100 surprising threads in the evolution of English, The Accidental Dictionary reveals the etymological origins and quirky developments that have led to the meanings we take for granted today. It is a weird and wonderful journey into words.
So, let's revel in its randomness and delight in its diversity - our dictionary is indeed accidental.
Paul Anthony Jones was born in South Shields in 1983. He is the author of four books: 'The British Isles: A Trivia Gazetteer' (2012); both 'Haggard Hawks & Paltry Poltroons' (2013) and its sequel, 'Jedburgh Justice & Kentish Fire' (2014); and language fact book 'Word Drops' (2015). 'Haggard Hawks' has since been featured in both The Guardian and The Huffington Post, and has spawned its own popular word-related Twitter account, @HaggardHawks, which was named one of Twitter's best language accounts by Mental Floss magazine in 2014. The daily word and language facts of the @HaggardHawks account inspired 'Word Drops: A Sprinkling of Linguistic Curiosities', published by Elliott & Thompson in April 2015.
Besides his interest in etymology and language, Paul is also a classically trained pianist. He lives in Jesmond in Newcastle upon Tyne, where he drinks far too much coffee and reads far, far too many books.
12.4 x 1.9 x 19.4 cm
Book Page Count
Book Publication Date
13 Jun. 2019
Elliott & Thomas
Elliott & Thomas