Philip Newton (pne) wrote in linguaphiles,
Philip Newton

The Wonder of Whiffling

Adam Jacot de Boinod, the author of The Wonder of Whiffling, asked the maintainers whether he could post about his newest book to the community. We gave him permission to post one entry about it. He then sent me a PDF of the press release and asked me to post it on his behalf, and I'm doing so now. (This shouldn't imply that the maintainers necessarily endorse or recommend the book.)

I've transcribed the PDF into HTML; those who are interested in the original PDF, including an image of the book's cover, please contact the author directly (link leads to a CAPTCHA that will reveal the email address -- or PM me for the address).

The Wonder of Whiffling

And other extraordinary words in the English language

Adam Jacot de Boinod

24 September 2009


Illustrated hardback • £12.99

ISBN 9780140515855

'You'll never be lost for words again. Truly enlightening!' MARIELLA FROSTRUP

A delightful tour of the extraordinary words in the English language from Anglo-Saxon to Trailer Park Slang

The Wonder of Whiffling is a hugely enjoyable and surprising journey through the English language, revealing interesting and unusual words from Old and Middle English and Tudor-Stuart, through the rural dialects collected by Victorian lexicographers, the argot of 19th century criminals, slang from two world wars, right up to our contemporary jargon that has grown from activities such as darts, working in an office and texting.

Discover words we have lost or never knew existed, such as a blatteroon, a person who will not stop talking, and crambazzled, to be aged prematurely through drink; words with meanings that have changed, such as racket, originally the palm of the hand, and constipate, to crowd together in a narrow room; together with a wealth of words from around the globe, like shubi (Australian), someone who buys surfing gear but doesn’t actually surf; and those that have developed very recently, such as ham, a legitimate email (as opposed to spam).

Delving passionately into the English language, Adam Jacot de Boinod reveals why it is you wouldn’t want to have dinner with a vice admiral of the narrow seas, why Jacobites toasted the little gentleman in black velvet, and why a Nottingham Goodnight is better than one from anywhere else.

And as for whifflers, whether you prefer yours whistling lightly, examining degrees, constantly changing their mind, morris dancing, crying out in pain or descending in a formation of geese, you’ll find them all, and more, in here…

Adam Jacot de Boinod, hunter of perfect and obscure bon mots, is a true linguistic bowerbird (a person who collects an astonishing array of - sometimes useless - objects). He trawled the languages of the world for exotic specimens in his bestselling book The Meaning of Tingo and has now turned his attention to the beauties, oddities and downright hilarities of the language that began his love affair with words - English.

For information and review copies please contact Bethan Jones at MGA
Tel 020 7836 4774 • Email


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