My Word! The stories behind our favourite words by Peter Sargent

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When was it a good thing to be a bully? Who was the clown who almost wrecked Cleopatra’s suicide scene in William Shakespeare’s play? What have singing goats got to do with tragedy? And what connects goats, hedgehogs and supermodels with the word capricious? Were Cossack cavalrymen the first to eat in a bistro, and were twittering birds the first to use jargon. Above all, what on earth can King Henry VIII and Paddington Bear have in common?

The answers to these questions can be found in My Word! Author Peter Sargent, writer of historical books on East Anglia and former journalist, has long been intrigued and frequently bamboozled by the language we use in everyday speech.

In this book he looks at nearly a hundred common words that we bandy about with abandon, rarely thinking about where they came from, and how their use has changed and is continuing to change. It’s an entertaining and informative safari through the jungle of our evolving language.

"Well, one way to cheer yourself up is to get a copy of Peter Sargent's new book My Word!, which takes a highly entertaining and fascinating look at the history of many of our wonderful words, which are steeped in history and often lost in the mist of time." Derek James, Eastern Daily Press

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