Words are slippery things!
But once you grab hold of them, they can tell you amazing tales.
In a Word: 750 Words and Their Fascinating Stories and Origins is packed with hundreds of these slippery creatures we call words. Each word or phrase that we use today had a beginning—and a story behind it. In fact, many current words date back to ancient times. Some keep the same meaning from Day One. Other words, however, evolve over time—taking on new characteristics, new meanings, and fascinating tales of people, places, and times long ago.
In a Word collects dozens of these tales and follows words through their many changes. Did you know...
• that your belt “buckle” has more to do with the hat on your head than keeping your pants up?
• that a “baker’s dozen” has more to do with theft than an extra doughnut?
• that “comets” were thought to be stars with long hair?
• that the “sandwich” you ate for lunch comes from British royalty?
• that the “planets” are named for the gods of ancient Rome?
With thousands of interesting details, In a Word unravel word origins from all over the world. Each entry or phrase is also placed into a subject category, making it easier to discover its meaning. Humorous illustrations showcase many of the words’ visual connections. Altogether, In a Word is a useful and fun journey into the heart of our language.