Writer and editor

Lord Sandwich and the Pants Man

21 Aug 2012 by Paz, Comments Off on Lord Sandwich and the Pants Man

Discover the people and places hidden in everyday words.

**** ‘Silence, all ye Doubting Thomases. Even Blind Freddy could see this book is bound to leave word enthusiasts and trivia buffs as happy as Larry. Those who’ve ever wondered about the origins of these and hundreds of the other most amusing, intriguing and colourful expressions in the English language will spend hours with this delightful book. Eamon Evans includes a healthy selection of Aussie vernacular and clearly has the Midas touch.’
MX

‘Evans has compiled a tome of weird and wonderful words with style. This book is charming despite itself, silly and scholarly all at once, a great resource for word nerds everywhere.’
Citybookreview.com

‘If you love words, and finding out some of the hows, whys and often whos behind expressions we hear and use every day, this book is a real doozy …’
americanprofile.com

‘Ever wondered who lived the life of Riley or which man was the real McCoy? This witty book reveals the people and places behind more than 700 common words and phrases. There’s plenty of fodder to impress your mates with … Worth adding to your shelf.’
Men’s Fitness

‘Great Scott, I’ve been talking mumbo jumbo, bunkum and gibberish for years. Little did I knew that they had stories attached. This book is an excellent read to kick-start dinner party conversations, impress people at trivia nights and pick up chicks at Scrabble conventions.’
Dave O’Neil

‘Light, pithy and amusing.’
SA Life

 

Extract

‘Words are illusions. They’re no different from things that appear in your dreams at night.’ Bodhidharma,

5th century Zen Master

‘Wrong, o great sage Bodhidharma. You can really be a bit of a chump sometimes.’

Eamon Evans

Lasting fame is pretty hard to achieve in this world (just ask what’s his-name from Big Brother) and it’s even harder once you’ve left it. For every ancient warrior whose deeds live on in legend and song, there are ten armies we’ve completely forgot. For every ye olde writer who’s still celebrated after centuries, I give you a thousand whose prose rests in peace. And for every Roman city that was expected to last out eternity, we have a small ruin and some broken pots. Life is but a thin slit of light in between two vast slabs of darkness. All cities crumble and all achievements fade.

Many words, however, live on. For true immortality, don’t worry about the history books—try and get in a dictionary instead. We don’t talk about Queen Margherita because she was a queen, but because at one time she ate some pizza. Earl Grey may have been a PM, but his name is remembered because he liked his tea. Samuel Maverick was a maverick and Jean Martinet was a martinet.

What we’re saying here, Mr Zen Master, is that words aren’t always illusions. Some of them are based on real people, who really did live and breathe. And others come from the names of places, where real people walked and talked. A man called Charles Boycott underwent the first boycott, while a Lord Cardigan took an interest in knitwear. The Vandals were a destructive tribe, the Zealots an intolerant sect. The first ‘slaves’ were Slavs and the first ‘philistines’ from came from Palestine. Women call men ‘guys’ because of Guy Fawkes, and expect them to be ‘romantic’ because of Rome.

‘Language is the archives of history,’ as Ralph Waldo Emerson once put it. Like flies captured for centuries in amber, people and places live on in our tongues. Lord Sandwich and the Pants Man is your guide to this hidden history. It’s a treasure trove of fairly plausible theories, enriched with some improbable truths. Enjoy it while you can.

 

Where to buy

Australia and NZ: Booktopia
UK:  Amazon UK
USA: Amazon US

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