The English language has never been overly concerned with purity. For centuries it has slept around and been seduced by many foreign influences, indulging in promiscuous relations that have contributed to many alluring word histories. Combining his etymological talents with those of the muck-raking journalist, Howard Richler exposes the often louche baggage that many words have accumulated throughout the centuries.
Discover how "exuberant" used to mean "luxuriantly fertile" and derivesoriginally from "overflowing udders." Learn how words such as "avocado" and "porcelain" have past associations with some of the nether regions of the body that have been conveniently forgotten by the lovers of fruit and fine china.
With over two hundred select words to uncover, readers will be surprised and delighted by the unexpected liaisons in Strange Bedfellows.
Howard Richler is a longtime logophile who has served as a language columnist for several newspapers and magazines. He is the author of seven books on language including: The Dead Sea Scroll Palindromes (1995), Take My Words: A Wordaholic's Guide to the English Language (1996), A Bawdy Language: How a Second-Rate Language Slept Its Way to the Top (1999), Global Mother Tongue: The Eight Flavours of English (2006), Can I Have a Word with You? (2007), Strange Bedfellows: The Private Livesof Words (2010), and most recently How Happy Became Homosexual: and Other Mysterious Semantic Shifts (2013).
Richler resides in Montreal with his partner Carol and his wheaten terrier Molly, fascinated by the changes in both official languages.