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A lively, authoritative, and up-to-date look at the world of rhyming slang, from its origins in London's 19th-century underworld to the buzzwords of 21st-century popney. Arranged by topic, including Crime, Food and Drink, Illness, Money, Sex, and Sport, this highly readable collection is at once an informative source to the story behind some of our most lively expressions and a browser's delight.
Uncover the hidden and often surprising connection between words. Written in a clear and informative style, the more than 8,000 articles reveal the origins of and links between some of the most common English-language words. What is the link between map and apron, acrobat and oxygen, zeal and jealousy, flour and pollen, secret and crime? Did you know that crimson originally comes from the name of tiny scale insects, the kermes, from whose dried bodies a red dyestuff is made? That Yankee began as a nickname for Dutchmen? That omelette evolved from amulette, a thin sheet of metal, and is a not-too-distant cousin of the word laminate? That jeans find their antecedent in jean fustian, meaning a cotton fabric from Genoa ? They also contain an extensive selection of words whose life histories are intrinsically fascinating or instructive. This dictionary shows how modern English has developed from its Indo-European roots and how the various influences on the language-from migration and invasion to exploration, trade, technology, and scholarship-have intermingled. It is an invaluable addition to any English or linguistics library.
The Encyclopedia of Surnames is not just another dictionary! With entertaining coverage of more than 7,000 surnames listed alphabetically, it provides a complete and accessible companion to tracing the history of names. Written by John Ayto, a respected lexicographer and author of titles such as Word Origins, the Encyclopedia of Surnames is the ideal gift or research tool for historians, journalists, genealogists, researchers and anyone interested in tracing their family history. Broad coverage includes supplementary features on famous surnames, surnames of fictional characters, pseudonyms and names from abroad which are popular in the UK, including Celtic names.
Wobbly Bits is the essential guide to polite conversation. Covering everything from the politically incorrect to the seriously taboo, this humorous book offers over 3,000 ways to avoid speaking your mind! Keep this book as your secret weapon (that 'distinguished, cosmetically different person of size' your friend keeps mentioning might just not be your ideal date!), and you'll never be caught out again! Subjects covered include crime, sins, sex, the body and its parts, clothing and nakedness, bodily functions and secretions, illness and injury, old age and death, work, poverty, government and politics, warfare and race. Utterly delightful and instructive - The Observer
The average contemporary English speaker knows 50,000 words. Yet stripped down to its origins, this apparently huge vocabulary is in reality much smaller, derived from Latin, French and the Germanic languages. It is estimated that every year, 800 neologisms are added to the English language: acronyms (nimby), blended words (motel), and those taken from foreign languages (savoir-faire). Laid out in an A-Z format with detailed cross references, and written in a style that is both authoritative and accessible, Word Origins is a valuable historical guide to the English language.
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