Home » What Made the Crocodile Cry?: 101 Questions about the English Language by Susie Dent
What Made the Crocodile Cry?: 101 Questions about the English Language Susie Dent

What Made the Crocodile Cry?: 101 Questions about the English Language

Susie Dent

Published
ISBN : 9780199574155
Paperback
159 pages
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 About the Book 

Why do good things cut the mustard? Who or what was the real Real McCoy? And why do we call false sentiment crocodile tears? Can crocodiles really cry?In What Made the Crocodile Cry?, Susie Dent draws on her popular television segment on theMoreWhy do good things cut the mustard? Who or what was the real Real McCoy? And why do we call false sentiment crocodile tears? Can crocodiles really cry?In What Made the Crocodile Cry?, Susie Dent draws on her popular television segment on the curiosities of English to tackle these and many other fascinating puzzles. Writing with her customary charm and erudition, Dent offers a wonderfully readable and endlessly entertaining exploration of language, answering 101 of the most intriguing questions about the English language, from word origins and spelling to grammar and usage. Dent ranges far and wide in her search for the oddities of language, pondering the ancient origin of the word tragedy (which originally meant goat song in Greek) as well as the modern meaning of the word donk in the Blackout Crews song title Put a Donk in It. And throughout, the book brims with fascinating tales. Readers learn, for instance, that the word bankrupt comes from the Italian banca rotta or broken bench and the word broke (meaning out of funds) has the same origin. Dent explains that in the sixteenth century, money lenders conducted their business on benches outdoors and the usual Italian word for bench was banca (hence todays bank). The author also provides an entertaining account of the origin of the term white elephant (meaning a useless, burdensome possession) that dates back to ancient Siam, where rare white elephants were always given to the king. But since by law white elephants couldnt be worked (and earn money) or even be ridden, the king often re-gifted these worthless burdens to courtiers whom he didnt like.Sparkling with insight and linguistic curiosity, this delightful compendium will be irresistible to anyone fascinated with language--the perfect gift for word lovers everywhere.