Harvey Wallbangers and Tam O'Shanters
Martin HannanDid you know that Maria Ann Smith was genuinely a grandmother who died not knowing that she had given the world one of the best varieties of apple? Or that the word tawdry, meaning tacky or tasteless, has its origins in the fate of a seventh-century Saxon princess, Etheldreda, who was canonised and became St Audrey? Or that when we say Fanny Adams, meaning nothing, this expression is derived from the tragic fate of a real little girl who was murdered in a most horrible fashion?
An eponym is a word derived from the name of a real, fictional or mythical character or person and is one of the most fascinating examples of how the English language gains new words. "Harvey Wallbangers and Tam O'Shanters" takes a colourful look at the phenomenon that is the eponym and, for the first time, gathers together the stories of the people behind the words that have passed into our everyday vocabulary.
This entertaining and informative book is packed with eponyms from across the worlds of literature, history, medicine, religion, politics, science, nature and cuisine. And there are more of them out there then you might think! From a Harvey Wallbanger to a Wellington Boot; from a Catherine Wheel to a Caesar Salad, there's something for every language lover within these pages..
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