The Unexpected Evolution of Language: Discover the Surprising Etymology of Everyday Words (Google eBook)

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Adams Media, Sep 18, 2012 - Reference - 240 pages
1 Review
This book is awesome awful!

Did you know that "awful" first originated as a compliment? How about the fact that it was perfectly fine for someone to defecate in their living room? Or that at one time a bully was actually a sweetheart?

You may think that these things sound outlandish, but hundreds of years ago, the words "awful," "defecate," and "bully" meant something entirely different than what we know today. The Unexpected Evolution of Language reveals the origins of 208 everyday terms and the interesting stories behind their shift in meaning.

Arranged in alphabetical order, you will enjoy uncovering the backstories to terms like:
  • Awful - worthy of respect or fear; inspiring awe
  • Bimbo - slang for a stupid, inconsequential man
  • Defecate - to purify; cleanse
  • Invest - to clothe; to dress
  • Nice - foolish; stupid
  • Relay - hunting term meaning fresh pack of hounds

From "aftermath" and "sophisticated" to "empty" and "prestige," you will aboslutely love seeing just what kind of damage time has done to the English language.


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Review: The Unexpected Evolution of Language: Discover the Surprising Etymology of Everyday Words

User Review  - Richard Martin - Goodreads

A must read for any logophile. Arranged alphabetically, Hayes provides an original definition of a word followed by a "new" one. Next, a discussion of its "evolution" in usage. Uniquely, personage ... Read full review

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About the author (2012)

Justin Cord Hayes, coauthor of The Big Book of Words You Should Know and Roget's Thesaurus of Words for Intellectuals, is an experienced journalist and teacher. He lives in North Carolina.

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