An entertaining collection of strange, delightful and unexpectedly apt words from the origins of English, which illuminates the lives, beliefs and habits of our linguistic ancestors.
'A wonderful book heaving with linguistic treasure ... joyfully clever' - Edward Brooke-Hitching author of The Madman's Library
'Wonderful' - Tom Holland
'A lovely, lovely read' - Lucy Mangan
'Splendid' - David Crystal
'A rich meditation on words, a thoughtful cultural history and a delicious box of delights' - Nicola Griffith, author of Hild
'Thorough, entertaining, and absolutely fascinating.' Paul Anthony Jones, Haggard Hawks
In this beautiful little book, Hana Videen has gathered these gems together to create a glorious trove and illuminate the lives, beliefs and habits of our linguistic ancestors. We discover a world where choking on a bit of bread might prove your guilt, where fiend-ship was as likely as friend-ship, and you might grow up to be a laughter-smith. These are the magical roots of our own language: you'll never see English in the same way again.