Word Drops: A Sprinkling of Linguistic Curiosities

Word Drops: A Sprinkling of Linguistic Curiosities
Hardcover, 224 pages
Size: 216x135mm
Publication date: 16 Apr 2015
List price: £11.99
ISBN: 9781783961535
eBook ISBN: 9781783961542
Buy from Amazon.co.uk

'Very jolly and all fascinating stuff. I'm sure it will solve a lot of people's Christmas present problems. Or it certainly should do.' - Jonathon Green, lexicographer & author of Green’s Dictionary of Slang

If you’re logofascinated, you are literally spellbound by language.

This surprising compendium of 1,000 facts about words, language and etymology is here to inspire your curiosity and delight in discovery. In Word Drops, you can delve into a smattering of unexpected connections and weird juxtapositions, stumble upon a new or remarkable word, or learn of many a bizarre etymological quirk or tall tale.

  • Did you know that the bowl made by cupping your hands together is called a gowpen?
  • And speaking of bowls, the earliest known reference to bowling in English dates from 1555, when bowling alleys were banned by an Act of Parliament.
  • And that ties in nicely with the fact that the English called the Germans ‘Alleymen’ during the First World War.
  • But in Navajo, Germany is called Béésh Bich'ahii Bikéyah—or ‘metal cap-wearer land’.

Word Drops is a language fact book unlike any other, its linguistic tidbits all falling together into one long interconnected chain—just like the example above—with each fact neatly ‘dropping’ into place beside the next.

What’s more, throughout, footnotes are used to give some informative and intriguing background to some of the most bizarre facts, covering everything from traditional Inuit games to the origin of the Bellini cocktail, from the precise length of one ‘jiffy’ to what the Romans thought hoopoe birds ate, and from what to expect on a night out with Dr Johnson to Samuel Pepys’s cure for a hangover. Want to know the longest palindrome in Morse code, or who The Great Masticator was? Curious to know what Norwegian steam is, or what a jäääär is? The answers are all here.

For all of the logofascinated among us, this is an immensely pleasurable and unpredictable collection that is guaranteed to raise eyebrows (the literal meaning, incidentally, of supercilious).


'For the bookish, the wordists, the nerdists, the swots... Paul Anthony Jones has compiled you the most absorbing and fascinating dip-in tome you will find all year ... Word Drops is very much a book to dip in and out of. It's a series of endless (but linked) words, coupled to their origins, meanings and a quantity of footnotes so great that they would put even David Foster Wallace to shame. [...] Word Drops is a nerdist's paradise. An intricately researched and elegantly put together collection of wordy nuggets. I challenge you to flick through the book, open it at any page and not find something worth sharing with someone else.' - blogger MadamJ-Mo

'Fantastic' -- blogger Moose Allain

'it’s hard to imagine anyone not being charmed by this breezy medley of self-contained yet interconnected miscellany. Once you pick up the string, you’ll be tempted to keep pulling till you reach the end, and how quickly that takes may depend chiefly on how often you stop to share its contents with a neighbour.' - blogger Stan Carey

'It's one of those hidden gems which sits quite comfortably on a book shelf until you need a little nugget of knowledge, and then once you dip into it you will be immediately be enthralled, not just by the goodies on offer, but also the way in which the book is presented. And as each fascinating fact drops into another one, very soon, the diversity and richness of language starts to enthral and really, I promise you, once started, you won't be able to stop to reading.' -- blogger Jaffareadstoo

'This is a lovely addition to anyone’s bookshelves especially those who love words and their origins ... is an excellent little book' -- Atticusfinsch on Goodreads

'If words were calories, this book would have you breaking the scales. To support my outrageous claim I refer you to urban legends which assert that certain brands of savoury snacks have ‘something in them’ which makes the brain crave more and more until the whole packet is gone. Whatever that something is, Paul Anthony Jones has imbibed plenty of it before compiling this endearing little book.' -- blogger Richard Littledale

‘A succinct, charming assemblage of unusual words’ -- Greg Jenner, author of A Million Years in a Day

Ian McMillan @ImcMillan (Radio Presenter, Writer, Man About Town): Enjoying this fascinating new book Word Drops by Paul Anthony Jones; joy for the language-addicted!

Stig Abell @StigAbell (Managing Editor at The Sun): brilliant for anyone interested in the effervescent oddness of English.