Thanks again to the fantastic team at Elliott & Thompson, my new book Around the World in 80 Words touched down in bookshops after its long journey on 25 October 2018.
The book takes you on a 70,000-mile circumnavigation of the English language, telling the stories behind 80 words and phrases whose stories lie somewhere on the world map. Beginning and ending in London, Around the World highlights words both familiar (turkey, brazil nut) and unfamiliar (zabernism, vandemonianism), and lifts fascinating etymological tales from 65 countries across six continents. (Apologies, Antarctica, but I really tried to fit you in...)
Here you’ll find out how a tiny Czech town became the world’s greatest currency, how a scientific war broke out over the name of a suburb of Moscow, how a town in South Africa became a synonym for tactical demotion, what Falstaff has to do with the fifth-largest city in Uzbekistan, why people go doolally when they lose their minds, how the bikini swimsuit cashed in on atomic testing, why we owe cheap-quality alcohol to an island home to the world’s densest population of brown bears, and why you really, really shouldn’t be like the saddler of Bawtry.