The Real McCoy: And 149 Other Eponyms

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Ever wonder why gerrymandering has such a funny name or why a puffy hairstyle is a pompadour or why being tempted is called tantalize? These words and many more are eponyms or words that come from a person’s or character’s name. Many words, of course, are derived from mythology, but some will be a surprise. One might think a chemical name like ammonia would be derived from scientific terms, but it is named for the Egyptian god of life and reproduction, Amun. But why? Why do we call crazy people berserk? Who can remember where the word mnemonic — an aid for remembering — came from?

Author Claire Cock-Starkey started her professional life as a researcher, and this gives her the perfect background to write a book like this. Those who have a fascination with the origin of place names and interesting words will appreciate the excellent research and clean, clever writing skills on display in this little book. Each of the 150 eponymous words or phrases in the book has its own fascinating story, and each is well told by the author. This is perfect for a road trip or to keep on the bedside table.

Reviewed By:

Author Claire Cock-Starkey
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 144 pages
Publisher Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Publish Date 2019-Jan-15
ISBN 9781851244980 Buy this Book
Issue February 2019
Category Reference


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